Today in class we discussed whether or not web addiction exists. It appears that our generation, more than any other, believes that web addiction does exist. we seem to use this "web addiction"as a scapegoat for the amount of time we spend on the internet. The United States has the largest online population and it has become a staple in our society.
In our reading this week, we read an article by John Bishop called Does Internet Addiction Exist?. In this article he explains why this isn't an legitimate disorder. Bishop says that the internet is a environment, a community in which people, artefacts, and structures exist. So it is impossible for someone to be addicted to an environment. Bishop says this is like, "Saying that people can be addicted to the internet is like saying people can be addicted to the real world." This means that you can't be addicted to an environment but aspects of the environment. For example, in the real world you could be addicted to casinos or gambling. On the internet you could be addicted to bidding on Ebay but you can't be addicted to the internet itself. This leads to the question, if there is no such thing as internet addiction then why do sometimes people suffer withdrawal symptoms like convulsions when the internet is removed? Bishop believes that these symptoms of withdrawals occur because they are not longer to live out their social desires. For instance, if you live out your desires in a chat room and then your internet is taken away you would suffer withdrawals because you aren't able to act out those desires not because you are addicted to the Internet.
Although, the jury is still out on Internet Addiction Disorder there are some people and communities that truly believe this is a serious issue. Now there are a couple of clinics and treatment centers that aim to help people who are "addicted to the internet". The first officially licensed clinic is in Beijing. China has the second largest online population, 94 million (2nd to the United States), and they find that IAD is a crippling their society. Although the internet is used regularly for business and education, the use of the internet for different reasons has spiraled out of control. Authorities have even had to step in to shut down many illegally operated internet cafes. Other psychologists and psychiatrists have taken note of the widespread dependence on the internet in the US and now there are clinics and doctors who specialize in this phenomena.
I don't think that it is so much an addiction to the internet but more of a reliance on technology. It seems that we are so dependent on the internet to get information, directions, music, etc that we forget how to function without it. So... what are your thoughts? Do you think that web addiction is a legitimate disorder? Could someone actually suffer withdrawal symptoms from lack of internet? Most of all, do you think that these treatment programs and treatments are actually helping others from coping with their addiction to the internet?