Internet addiction

Every get antsy because your computer ran out of battery? Do get cold sweats when the signal on your phone is week and you can’t access emails? Do you check Twitter as the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning (I’ll regret it later, but I will admit to this one)? If so, then I’ve got some bad news for you my friend…

You might as well face it, you’re addicted to the Internet.

internet-addictionWell, maybe YOU aren’t, but Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) affects thousands of people in the US and millions around the world. So much so that there are special rehab centers for Internet addicts and intervention programs to treat this kind of affliction.

The problem is especially prevalent in China, where over 10 million people are thought to be truly addicted. (China’s problem was in the news recently as it was revealed that institutionalized Internet addicts were abused while in care.)

But is it a real disorder? It’s not listed as an official mental problem yet, but most of us know someone who’s just on the wrong side of obsessive when it comes to Internet usage. Whether it’s compulsive gaming or blogging, IAD is a reality in today’s world.

Signs of Internet addiction

Since it’s not officially classified yet, there are no symptoms, per se, but the following are common (and a little obvious) behaviors exhibited by Internet addicts:

  • Being preoccupied with Internet activity (you can’t wait until you’re online again and feel anxious when you know you can’t get online)
  • You feel like you need more and more time on the Internet to feel satisfied
  • You’ve tried to cut back your usage, but have failed to do so
  • You don’t feel like yourself unless you’re on the Internet
  • You’ve neglected relationships or work for surfing the Internet
  • You’ve lied to people about being on the Internet (you feel like you have to hide your usage; you feel guilty about it)
  • Going on the Internet is the main thing that makes you feel better
  • You’ve withdrawn from “real world” activities

Curious as to how bad you’re getting with your internet usage? Take this quick quiz to see if you’re a healthy online surfer or if you should tone down your usage.

Find out more about IAD from the CNN story below as well as from Mashable’s coverage of the problem.

Are you too old for social media?

That’s the question I heard this morning on the radio while on my way to the airport. I couldn’t believe that after the tremendous growth social media has enjoyed in recent years (and especially in the last year with the advent of Twitter) people still see it as a fad, as “the thing kids are doing.” In fact, callers suggested that people over 40 should be banned from social media.

Here’s a newsflash to all those silly people – social media is not a fad. It’s a communication tool which will forever change human interactions around the world.

Here are some telling Facebook stats in Australia:

– There are an estimated 6.1 million users registered in Australia. (I got the Facebook stats by setting up an ad in Facebook which lets you progressively narrow down your target audience by entering various parameters. If you select all Australian accounts, you get just over 6.1 million)

– Of those, 2.8 million are over 30 and 1.4 million are over 40.

– According to Comscore, 3 out of 4 Australians visited a social networking site in 2009.

There’s no doubt that the world is becoming smaller as we all gain access to each other via social networks. Despite all the possible negative fallout this may have (relationships deteriorating, less face-to-face time, dependency on technology), I think this is great – for all ages!

Thanks to social media families separated by thousands of miles can stay connected, consumers can be more informed, politicians can relate to their constituents, just to mention a few benefits. Social media is not a fad. It’s a new communication tool just as the phone, telegraph or email were before it.

So here’s a message to all you delusional under 30’s who want to keep Facebook, etc., a stomping ground for teenagers and young singles – get over it!

Here’s the latest Australian social media data from Comscore, which shows just how active Australians are on social networks. Definitely NOT a fad!

Here are the top social networks used in Australia:

Top social networks in Australia as of June 2009

8,857,000 Total unique visitors to social networks

6,102,000 Facebook

3,530,000 MySpace

1,962,000 Windows Live profile

1,475,000 Bebo

800,000 Twitter




409,000 Buzznet

252,000 Orkut