Sunday, November 19, 2006

Internet, a new potential addiction

How many hours do you spend every day surfing the internet? How many days can you pass without using the web?
According to some studies performed by researchers at important universities, an average user spends 3.5 hours per day using the internet. Although there is no "official" measure to know whether this is an excessive amount of time, it is a considerable portion of the day. Just imagine the following: If a day has 24 hours, and normally 8 of them are necessary to sleep, that leaves 16 "usable" hours... from which 3.5 hours represent 21.88%.
But still, 3.5 hours every day to surf in the internet is not bad. The problem is that there are some individuals who spend more than that... much more than that.
There have been reported cases in which it is claimed that some people surf for as much as 15 hours daily. That's something to be worried about: If you think it mathematically, you'll discover that those 15 daily hours mean 228 days per year, roughly 62% of the entire year!
The problem goes far beyond only marking such people as "internet freaks" or people without any type of social life (excepting the one that chat services can offer). Dedicating the internet so much time means also to give up some other important activities, such as work and family.
Internet addicts, apart from the amount of time spent in the web, also show symptoms such as euphoria, irritability or depression when sitting at the computer, anxiety to use the internet, and problems at school or work.
Some clinics to treat "internet addiction" have been established in some countries, like the United States and Japan, to help people suffering of these disorders.
Is internet the sickness of the century? It's too early to diagnose that, but it has good chances indeed.


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