Many writers are using software to fight what they call Internet Addiction that is interfering with their work. Zadie Smith thanked the programs, Freedom and Self Control, in the acknowledgements of her new novel,NW, which has a character who is addicted to online message boards. Other writers, including Booker short lister Will Self, prefer to use typewriters instead of being tempted by the Web's lures. Scientists have recently linked internet addiction with a nicotine addiction gene, although there is no consensus on whether it is addiction or habituation.
According to a new report, children in Sweden are becoming increasingly concerned by their parents' internet habits. "This summer she has been sitting up all day and all night and she forgets what's important to me. And when she's not at the computer she's like a lost soul. She just looks straight ahead and says nothing. I'm not doing so well." Dr Jerald Block from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is pushing for internet addiction (and its three subtypes: excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations and e-mail/text messaging) to be included as a common disorder in the next update of the DSM (DSM-V). "The relationship is with the computer. It becomes a significant other to them. They exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer... It's much more acceptable for kids to talk about game use, whereas adults keep it a secret. Rather than having sex, or arguing with their wife or husband, or feeding their children, these adults are playing games..."