On June 14, ABC news reported that an “internet-crazed”
Cincinnati woman was arrested for neglecting her three young children. The
woman reportedly spent 12 hours straight online, while her hungry kids
were locked away in one room so she could be
online without interruption. The three kids were placed in county custody
while the mother was tossed in jail.
The Internet is rapidly becoming an addictive source to a lot of
its users. Users of the Internet include students, housewives, and
business professionals. Some of these Internet users spend a minimum of
thirty-eight hours per week on the “net”; hence, losing touch with
reality and reeking havoc on their studies, family lives or careers.
Individuals such as these are classified as “Internet Addicts.” Based on
level of addiction, there are three groups of Internet addicts: i) the
users,” ii) the “I-only-use-it-when-I-have-to-users” and iii) the
The “I’m-not-addicted users” are the users who try to convince
themselves that they are not addicted to the Internet. This group includes
college students who don’t go online during the day to prove to fellow
students that they can do without get ting online; only, to stay up all
night in a chat room online. Or businesspeople who stay after office hours
to supposedly get a late report done; only, to stay online until the
security guy’s ready to lock up the building. Or husbands who stay offline
al l day, only to get online for hours after their family members are
asleep. These users are addicts but portray themselves otherwise in the
presence of people.
Next, are “the I-only-use-it-when-I-have-to-users.” These users
make convenient excuses to use the Internet. Mothers who claim they have
to visit their child’s school’s website, to read the highlights of the
last PTA meeting, while they could hav e waited for the minutes of the
meeting in the mail. They end up staying online for hours. Or college
students who insist on checking out the ratings of a movie online, using
this as an excuse to stay online for hours; while they could have looked
in the local newspaper. Or businesspeople who use checking for e-mail, as
an excuse to get online; even though, the computer announces when there’s
new mail. These addicts make excuses to justify their use of the Internet.
The third group of Internet users is the “Internet junkies.”
Unlike addicts in the previous two groups, these users neither sneak
online nor make excuses to get online. They put their lives on hold to get
online. The mother in the story at the b eginning of the essay is an
example of an Internet junky. Another example of an Internet junky is a
woman in her 40’s resigns from her job suddenly with no reason given.
Unfortunately she leaves some work undone and a family member tries to
find her for t he employer. Finally the woman is found hunched over her
computer, completely oblivious to her surroundings. These addicts are
completely oblivious to their surroundings.
Although the Internet is a very useful and economical source of
information, it’s fast becoming yet another addictive substance to some of
its users. Internet addiction seems very contemporary because it involves
a high-tech device. But psychiat rists and psychologists typically treat
Internet addictions in much the same way they deal with other addictions.
Just like drug, gambling, or alcohol, Internet addiction affects the
addicts’ life and the lives of those around them.