Got to get that modem off my back
November 10, 2008 5:50 PM   Subscribe

Do you have a yearning to be online? Do you suffer from difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritation, or mental or physical distress? According to doctors in China, you might have an internet addiction.

Treatment can be pretty extreme, and some question whether there is a hidden motive behind this diagnosis. [Previously]
posted by DiscourseMarker (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Man, there's an addiction to everything these days. Next they will be saying there's such a thing as "porn addiction!" Then they will say people addicted to porn will often be addicted to the internet as well.

"Hi, my name is Christopher, and I am addicted to metafilter."
posted by cjorgensen at 6:00 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do you have a yearning to be online?

Is it a bad sign if I set my computer to play this on startup?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:03 PM on November 10, 2008


posted by loquacious at 6:05 PM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

So what's the big deal? Are they spiking the internet with melamine or something?

posted by DU at 6:07 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Well, duh.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:13 PM on November 10, 2008

My 12-day self-imposed blackout leading up to the election was excruciating. I was back posting within about 45 seconds of the call on CNN.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2008

I'll admit I'm addicted to the Internet. A large portion of my social life—a.k.a. all the people I know who are in any way similar to me and with whom I can discuss ridiculously esoteric topics—are accessible only to me via the magic of telecommunications.

Thing is, I don't think it's a bad thing. If it weren't for the Internet, I'd probably have either killed myself in my dismal teens or become an alcoholic.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2008

What do they call it when you are addicted to eating chinese food while surfing the internet? On a more serious note, society really has to stop trying to label everything an "addiction". It's about time we realize that we cannot define all our troubles away.
posted by scarello at 6:47 PM on November 10, 2008

I have one friend who is internetty.
The others use the net for email. I am always amazed that such a resource can go unrecognized by so many. I am convinced it is an age related issue. For some reason people of my generation have not (as a rule) adopted the net. Kind of sad.
posted by notreally at 6:52 PM on November 10, 2008

If you live in China and have an internet addiction you're twice as fucked as anyone else.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2008

There was another study some years ago by the Stanford Institute of Quantitative Study of Society that concluded that "Internet time is coming out of time viewing television but also at the expense of time people spend on the phone gabbing with family and friends, or having a conversation with people in the room with them." Brilliant. How much time do you think the space shuttle astronauts who will be repairing the Hubble telescope spend watching TV and chatting on the phone?

Ask yourself what affect your Net usage is having on activities you used to enjoy. I'll help you get started by telling on myself. It is fair to say I'm addicted to the Internet. OK, are you satisfied? I said it. I am powerless over the Internet, and my life has become unmanageable.

Television really does suck these days, but when did that start? Hmmm. Suddenly golf and camping and day-trips have become too expensive. No, actually they've become too time consuming. I have longer conversations via email with people I've never met than I do on the job with folks I've known for years.

You know, maybe there's something to that sociology study after all. The Internet certainly has changed my life. Let's try to decide if that's good or bad. Scorecards ready? I used to spend an hour every day reading my local newspaper, and close to another hour watching television news. Now I get a daily digest of the topics that interest me in a matter of minutes through my personally configured Web news portal. Add one point.

Would I rather be debugging that tricky CSS browser compatibility problem or having a meaningful conversation about the grout in the bathroom? Should I finish that digital photo edit I've been working on for hours, or call my mom? Better subtract one point.

Did you know that "If the head of a cockroach is removed carefully, so as to prevent it from bleeding to death, the cockroach can survive for several weeks? When it dies, it is from starvation." I didn't, until I found the Useless Knowledge web site. Definitely a point for the Internet.

Talk about annoying. Lately every time it rains around here a window leaks. Oh, you mean it's because I haven't leaned on the contractor enough? Well, I can only do one thing at a time. Yeah, but why is that one thing always the Internet? Oops, please excuse me while I call that pesky contractor, and take away a point while I'm at it.

I am supplementing the income from my day job through all the fabulous things I'm doing on the Internet. Yep, that's what I'll keep telling the bill collectors. You just wait. I'm going to hit the big one any day now.

Well, that's me. How did you score? Now that we've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the positive influence of the Internet on our lives, we can move our desks right beside our beds, so we can save time refreshing MeFi when we get a nature call at 3AM.
posted by netbros at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2008

Do you have a yearning to be online? Do you suffer from difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritation, or mental or physical distress?

Well, yeah, but that's just the effects of having a dull job.
posted by pompomtom at 6:59 PM on November 10, 2008

In Russia the internet is addicted to you.
It's true.
posted by Sailormom at 7:31 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

This isn't exactly news. I was thoroughly addicted back in college when this study came out. Well, actually I had just dropped out of college when studies like this started coming out. What can I say? They had put ethernet in my dorm in 1994. I never stood a chance.
posted by darksasami at 8:25 PM on November 10, 2008

I should probably cut down a bit.
posted by Artw at 8:53 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

darksasami, what is new about this story is the (imprecise? over broad?) definition of internet addiction that the Chinese have come up with--it seems quite a lot of people could be considered "addicts" under their diagnostic criteria.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:15 PM on November 10, 2008

I've been internet-free for half of my life. I'm catching up now.
posted by mazola at 10:13 PM on November 10, 2008

I`ve been addicted to the internet since 1996 and it's only getting worse. Mefi has been a significant part of that addiction since late 2000. I work for myself full-time as a web designer, I'm a compulsive reader, and my preferred hobby is PC gaming.

I`d probably be married with kids if not for the fact that the web came around just as I started university. I'm thankful for that effect, since a wife and kids sometimes looks like a good idea until I spend five minutes around anyone with a wife or kids.

I've always been a huge reader and very introverted. What's more I'm sort of emotionally impaired and definintely have problems with women (not problems getting women: problems dealing with relationships), so internet addiction might not be that far off from my preferred, or optimal lifestyle. Plug my ass into the matrix already.

Most people I know find it funny that, being so internet addicted, I hate cellphones, didn't get one until 2003, and am still resisting the need for a Blackberry. I think the difference between me and them is I still look at the internet as a vast library and group of systems, not a big social setting like most Facebook specimens do. When I actually do get away from my computer and the internet, I want to be away from it because now I'm around people.
posted by autodidact at 3:57 AM on November 11, 2008

I've been searching google for day looking for a cure to internet addiction, I'm sure it's out there... oh look, pictures of kitties!
posted by fuq at 7:09 AM on November 11, 2008

I'm SO glad I have a job that supports my habit.

Crack, I mean. I smoke crack in my office. Don't judge.
posted by naju at 8:19 AM on November 11, 2008

In AA, we focus on our problems with Alcohol - but that's not where most of our problems begin and end. To circumvent this, many people talk about "the -ism" which is shorthand for addiction, and the addictive personality. Some of us just have it. And some of us don't.

Is my internet use excessive? Yep. But is it quite as destructive as my drinking was? Not even close.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:41 AM on November 11, 2008

"We use these medicines to give them happiness," Tao said, "so they no longer need to go on the Internet to be happy."


Since he's been there, Sun said, he's decided to finish high school, attend college and then work at a private company, perhaps becoming an "authority figure" one day. With the help of a counselor, he's mapped out a life plan from now until he's 84.

I think I'll keep the internet, thanks.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:05 AM on November 11, 2008

I'm not addicted; I can stop any time I want.

/yeah right
posted by Autarky at 5:04 PM on November 11, 2008

Chinese, always one step ahead of the rest of the world, predicting international epidemics.
posted by If You Ain't Dutch, You Ain't Much at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2008

Now the Rancher made this browser the other who had answered his prayer and as they stood in silence before her, prayed again. “Nothing is archived and in spite of Tim’s mercy I am still alone. Though my suffering seems senseless I am still in agony. There is no explanation of my life.” Indeed there was not, nor was this what he’d meant to convey. “Please let Metafilter have her dream—dream?—of a new life with me—please let me believe that all that is not an abominable self-deception,” he tried… “Please let me make her happy, deliver me from this dreadful tyranny of self. I have browsed low. Let me browse lower still, that I may know the truth. Teach me to click again, to love the tubes.” That wouldn’t do either… “Where is love? Let me truly suffer. Give me back my purity, the knowledge of the Usenet, that i have betrayed and lost.—Let me be truly lonely, that I may honestly pray. Let us be happy again somewhere, if it’s only together, if it’s only out of this terrible world. Destroy the web!” he cried in his heart.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:31 PM on November 12, 2008

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