Friday, June 12, 2009

Is internet addiction even a thing?

I read a recent article on discussing how moms are more at risk for internet addiction. It really fascinated me, and I talked about it with another gamer mommy. Her response? "Pfft, yeah, I'm definitely addicted."

[shrug] Hey, she said it first, but I'll hop on her bandwagon and say "me too." Internet outage? Grrr!! Fix it, and fix it NOW. I need to check my email, and look at the weather, and play MMOs, and talk to my friends, and read articles on that tell me I'm on the internet too much! (Is it weird to anyone but me that an article like that is on...the internet?)

However, today I stumbled across this article saying that internet addiction technically isn't even a real thing yet, and that heavy internet use is a normal part of life these days.

I'm really wavering on this. I'm on the computer WAY too much. I make a conscious effort to limit my time, take care of my responsiblilites, and maintain my real life at a normal, healthy level. But the fact that I have to consciously make an effort to do this probably means that the addiction label applies to me. (Probably? As my friend said, "pfft".)

On the other hand, the computer is my mp3 player, TV, and newspaper all rolled into one. My main hobby, gaming, lives in the computer. Many times it is also my "phone". I had a nice chat yesterday with a real life friend via Facebook. We probably *could* have had a phone conversation, but it would have been hard. She was helping her daughter pack for a trip and I was at work. Our phone conversation would have been interrupted constantly. Facebook chat? We got to hold our conversation just as well, back and forth to the computer in between dealing with our other responsibilities.

When our conversation ended, I felt good. I'd gotten to touch base with my friend, and we spent a bit of time encouraging one another - real life is stressful for both of us this week. I felt a bit calmer and more relaxed after that, whereas a phone call would have left me a bit tense and wishing I'd had time to talk to her without constant "Hang on again. No, I said pack your GREEN shirt! Sorry, what were you saying?"

In many ways, the internet is a tool well suited to the breakneck pace most moms (and most everybody) keep these days. But too much of a good thing and all that.

How much is too much, and why do so many of us have such a hard time deciding that and calling a halt? Lots to talk about, and I'm anxious to explore this more over the next week or two. More to come...

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