Internet Addiction

Internet Addiction

Research Paper Theme: Social Impact of
the Internet 8 October 1997 ABSTRACT The Internet is the largest source
of information in the world today. With its web sites and chat rooms, it
is a means of communicating with people in places all over the face of
the earth. Since its conception in 1973, the Internet has grown at a whirlwind
rate. 51 million adults, were on-line as of the second quarter 1997 in
the United States alone. Some say that the Internet is so enjoyable that
it is almost addictive. The problem is that researchers are beginning to
agree with them. Studies are revealing that there may be an actual form
of addiction involved with over-use of the Internet. Identifying which
category of addiction the Internet falls into is the problem. There are
no real answers yet because research in this area is at the beginning stages.

While lost in this so called ‘Cyber Community’ for long periods of time,
people are neglecting other important activities like; time with the family,
socializing, work and health concerns. One of the most extensive studies
on Internet Addiction to date was conducted by Dr. Kimberly S. Young of
the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. In her study, she revealed concrete
evidence supporting the Internet Addiction claim. However, help for web
addicts is available. There are several web sites available for the treatment
of Internet addiction, as well as counseling centers and clinics. Is it

Live, or is it Internet? Internet Addiction The Internet is the largest
most versatile source of information in the world today. With its web sites
and chat rooms, it is a means of communicating with people in places all
over the face of the earth. But with all this power at our fingertips,
are there any negative impacts of using this interface? Are we as ‘simple
humans’ capable of interacting with such a powerful communication source.

Recent studies are beginning to uncover evidence that would suggest that
maybe some of us are not so capable of dealing with this technology. In
fact, as more research is conducted, experts are finding that the Internet
may even be addictive! Development of the Internet began about 15 years
ago. In 1973 the U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency initiated a program
to research the techniques and technologies for inter-linking various types
of networks.1 The objective was to develop communication protocols that
would allow networked computers to communicate transparently across multiple,
linked networks. This was called the internetting project and the system
of networks that emerged from the research was known as the Internet. Since
that time, various other research projects, to include those conducted
by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and

Space Administration, have shaped and tailored this project to give us
the Internet as we know it today. (1) The Internet has now grown to include
over 4500 Service Providers in the United States alone. A survey by Christian

Huitema of Bellcore indicated that there were 26 million host computers
on the Internet as of September 1997.2 A survey conducted by Intelli Quest

Information Group Inc. showed that 51 million adults, age 16 or older,
were on-line as of the second quarter 1997 in the United States alone.3

With such a large portion of the population swimming in this seemingly
never-ending sea of information, what is the real impact of the Internet
on society? It seems that the majority of society thinks the Internet is
the greatest invention since the telephone. This is probably best justified
by the whirlwind rate at which the Internet grows. In fact, some say that
the Internet is so enjoyable that it is almost addicting! The problem is
that recent studies have shown that the Internet may not only be addicting
because it is enjoyable, but that a fairly large number of users are experiencing
addiction of a clinical form.4 Identifying which category of addiction
the Internet falls into is another problem. There are no real answers yet
because research in this area is at the beginning stages. A few researchers
are comparing the Internets effects to marijuana as a psychostimulant.

They argue that the chemicals in marijuana activate the same stimuli as
the Internet.5 Most researchers to this date do, however, agree that this
is some type of behavioral addiction. People can become addicted to activities
even when there is no physiological dependence or physiological addiction.

Overeating, sex, work, exercise and gambling can be addictive if done to
excess.6 Behavioral addiction means (2) that the activity alters your emotional
state in some way. The main way to determine if an activity is addictive
is if it is