Information Addiction

“Tweeting or checking emails may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, according to researchers who tried to measure how well people could resist their desires. They even claim that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges, people are more likely to give in to longings or cravings to use social and other media. A team headed by Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University’s Booth Business School say their experiment, using BlackBerrys, to gauge the willpower of 205 people aged between 18 and 85 in and around the German city of Würtzburg is the first to monitor such responses ‘in the wild’ outside a laboratory.”  “Twitter is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, study finds,” The Guardian, February 3, 2012

“Internet addiction … is a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder that involves online and/or offline computer usage and consists of at least three subtypes: excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations, and e-mail/text messaging.”—Jerald Block, psychiatrist, “Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction,” American Journal of Psychiatry, March 2008.

Psychological symptoms of computer addiction according to Computer Addiction ServicesHaving a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer;  inability to stop the activity; craving more and more time at the computer, neglect of family and friends; feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer; lying to employers and family about activities, problems with school or job.

“The analysis showed that previous studies [of Internet addiction] have utilized inconsistent criteria to define Internet addicts, applied recruiting methods that may cause serious sampling bias, and examined data using primarily exploratory rather than confirmatory data analysis techniques to investigate the degree of association rather than causal relationships among variables.”—Byun et al., “Internet addiction: Metasynthesis of 1996-2006 quantitative research,” Cyberpsychology & Behavior, Volume 12, Number 2, 2009

“I don’t think Internet addiction disorder exists any more than tennis addictive disorder, bingo addictive disorder, and TV addictive disorder exist. People can overdo anything. To call it a disorder is an error.” —Ivan Goldberg, psychiatrist, “Internet Addiction?,”, August 8, 1997.

“As the number of netizens grows, the number of the addicted people will grow as well, but we should not worry about the issue too much … The young men at the age of growing up have their own problems. Even if there were no Internet, they will get addicted to other things.” —Kuang Wenbo, professor of mass media, Renmin University, Beijing, “Beijing Clinic Treats Web Addicts,” Associated Press, July 3, 2005.

“I can hardly bring myself to mention the true disadvantage of computers, which is that I have become hopelessly addicted to them … How deprived I feel as I read the fliers for CompuServe and The Source, the over-the-phone [modem] services that enable you to make airline reservations, call up old newspaper articles, and send computer mail, all from the privacy of your home … My computer already competes with wife and children for my affection.” —James Fallows, “Living With a Computer,” The Atlantic Monthly, July 1982.

“It has come to seem that the world around us is a world of information. Information also has come to seem the key to power and truth. And so we become dependent on our information machines, perhaps even addicted to them. Thoreau poked fun at this even before the Civil War: ‘Hardly a man takes a half hour’s nap after dinner,’ he wrote, ‘but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, ‘What’s the news?’”—Steven Lubar, InfoCulture, 1993.

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