Seed Magazine has published an article on Internet addiction . I'm always skeptical about new addictions, whether they be Internet addictions or sexual addictions. To illustrate my skepticism, look at this quote:
Stanford researchers interviewed 2,513 adults in a nationwide household survey. Because Internet addiction has not been clinically defined as a medical condition, study questions were based on established addiction disorders.
Research indicated that nearly 14 percent of the respondents found it difficult to stay away from the Internet for several days and that slightly more than 12 percent often remained online longer than expected.
More than eight percent of the people surveyed said they hid "non-essential" Internet use from family, friends or employers and nearly the same number went online to flee from real-world problems.
Nearly six percent of the respondents felt that their personal relationships suffered as a result of their excessive Internet use.
Substitute "television" for "Internet." What percent of the population, (a) finds it difficult to stay away from TV for several days; (b) watches TV longer than expected; (c) hides non-essential TV use from others; (d) watched TV to flee from real-world problems; and (e) felt their personal relationships suffered from excessive TV-watching?
The last one may be a little iffy, but I've heard a lot of women complain their husbands sit in front of the TV all day, while the husbands rationalize it by saying "I've worked hard all week and I need a little relaxation." I've heard alcoholics rationalize their drinking the same way.
Are we a country of TV "addicts?" I doubt it, although we obviously watch TV too much. I do think that in the social and behavioral sciences, we tend to take concepts and stretch them too far. This is a good example of it.
Never forget that people can do anything compulsively. That includes eating, sex, and (I kid you not) counting. Let's leave "addiction" to substance abuse.