Thursday, July 31, 2008

Should You Read This or Visit Internet Addicts Anonymous?

Many readers of this post are addicts. They are Internet addicts, according to Medill Reports from Northwest University. Today we have all grown some what dependent on the Internet. It is one of our primary communication sources via email, it tells us what movies are on at our local theaters and whether or not they are worth viewing, and it communicates information we want to convey about our business or gives the information about businesses we are interested in. but it is more, so much more.

According go the Medill Reports: "Kimberly Young, clinical director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery and author of the book 'Caught in the Net,' said that about 5 percent to 10 percent of Americans --15 to 30 million people -- may suffer from Internet addiction. And the problem may be even greater elsewhere. Young said 18 to 30 percent of the populations of China, Korea and Taiwan, where the Internet is even more popular than in the U.S., may be addicted."

Addiction, according to the study is defined as "online-related compulsive behavior that interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and work -- is a psychological and behavioral problem." Smart phones have made the feeding of this addiction even easier to maintain. We should be talking business over lunch, but we are reading email. We should be watching our child's soccer game and instead are looking at our up coming schedule. Instead of being "there," wherever that is suppose to be, people are roaming around the World Wide Web.

What do these addicts find themselves doing? According to the report, "the main types of Internet addiction are cybersex, online affairs, online gambling, online gaming, compulsive surfing and even eBay addiction, Young added." The situation has gotten so bad, people spend 30 to 90 days at recovery centers to seek help about the Web.

The Internet is tougher than some more commonly known addictions to break. First of all, the Internet itself is completely culturally acceptable. Virtually everyone does it. That leads to the next problem, complete abandonment is very difficult because most of us need it to function in the modern world of business. But how does one go from 10 or more hours a day to a mere one or two? I'm sure someone will develop a web site to help people with such. Oh, the irony of it all!

To find out if you are an Internet Addict, visit the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery.

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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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