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Internet Addiction Disorder... We may all have it...

An article came out in The Age recently about a call for 'internet addiction' to be classified as a mental illness. This would apparently make it easier to detect addiction to video games and also encourage research and the development on new treatments for these addictions which are on the rise.

This article caused me a certain level of anxiety. Particularly this line:

The most typical sign of addiction is anything that looks like withdrawal symptoms,'' he said. ''So any expression of distress, frustration, irritability when they don't get to play.

You see, this is the reaction each one of my children - and I - have to not being able to get on our devices or the computer.

Ari might be excused because he is a small child for whom this response also emerges when he is denied lollies, airplane rides at his whim and getting to stay up later, and I doubt very much he is addicted to lollies, airplanes or late bedtimes, as he rarely has any of these.

During these holidays, the boys have been banned from their iPods and the Wii and Minecraft (yes, again, and the ban occurred more than a week before this article arrived on my Twitter stream). The first couple of days were rough, but now they're fine with it. The ban occurred because they take their devices all too much for granted and Lukas, in particular, was showing signs of not being able to be at home without being plugged into his iPod (which, due to a wrecked battery must now constantly be plugged into the wall - so he was sitting on the couch in the lounge room for hours at a time).

The boys do not self-limit their access to technology. Left to their own devices (Ha! See what I did there), they will simply recharge the iPods and start over. Bryn, who also has a DS, will endlessly switch between his iPod and DS if given free reign.

Okay, but let's really get to the crunch.

Reviewing my own internet behaviour... Gosh, this is hard. I'm am always online. All the time. Okay, not when I'm in the shower and not when I'm out of the house - though even then I check in on my phone occasionally (though not being able to read my phone screen for any length of time limits that interaction). However, when I'm at home, I'm either on this computer, or on my iPad, and occasionally on my phone too, if I'm watching a movie and my iPad dies and I can't be bothered to get the cable from the bedroom. See, I can't even watch a movie without engaging with the internet.

Sometimes I find myself switching between Email, Facebook, Twitter and a game or two on rotation. I can get so bored, but I still do it.

When I try not to get on technology I feel unsure of what to do.

What do I do?

Mostly, I want to sleep. I sometimes crochet or knit, and sometimes I get quite obsessive about doing these things, too. I like to read, but then I'm drawn back to the computer or iPad. I like to write, but again, then I'm drawn back to the computer.

Occasionally, I bake, but that requires ingredients and ingredients cost money and well, the net is free (once I've paid the monthly fee).

I can't disconnect completely because a lot of my work is online. This blog is online. If I get into the PhD all of that work and research will be online. I spend a lot of time online researching all sorts of things to do with writing, social issues, stuff for the kids, recipes, banking, the kids schools and so much of day-to-day stuff.

My real life social circle in miniscule. I see Dave and the kids. I catch up with school mums at the school gate or on the walk to and from school (maybe once or twice a week). I catch up with three other friends every few weeks or months. That's it.

By the reckoning of this article, our entire family would be internet addicts.

We would be lost without the net. Even the Grumpy Old Man spends his spare time (when not running errands or sleeping) online. He watches television some nights, but he mostly prefers to watch DVDs at his computer and surf the net.

If this classification is accepted, I think internet addiction will become the most overdiagnosed mental illness on the planet - probably greater than depression.

How would you fair?

Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) - does this sounds like you?

Internet Addiction Test (IAT)



PlanningQueen said…
It is such a personality based thing. Two of my kids if I didn't regulate their time would be constantly glued to technology, the other three eventually get bored with it and find other stuff to do.

I need to be quite strict with myself on when I access the internet too.

I actually look forward to when I take my online holidays. The first time I did it, it terrified me to start with then I really got into it!
Jayne said…
I definitely have it. DEFINITELY. So does Mr 11. Miss 7, not so much.
Sif Dal said…
Oh, an online holiday - as in a break from being o line, rather than leaving the real world entirely for a week or two - sounds doable. I will aim for this.

Jayne, does it worry you at all? Oddly, even though I have ADHD which is a disorder that doesn't worry me too much, but the idea of being addicted to something concerns me.
Julie said…
Totally addicted. I am the same. Lay in bed tv on iPad on fb or twitter or Instagram etc. contemplated deactivating my fb account but just can't do it. It's my major problem.

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