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US Students Suffering From Internet Addiction 307

Posted by kdawson
from the crackberry-is-no-joke dept.
goG sends in a piece from IBTimes on the latest study to confirm what is becoming pretty obvious. The article mentions the Internet addiction rehab center we discussed last year. "American college students are hooked on cellphones, social media and the Internet and showing symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addictions, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Maryland who asked 200 students to give up all media for one full day found that after 24 hours many showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their media and social links. ... 'Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort,' wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. 'When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life.'"
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US Students Suffering From Internet Addiction

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  • Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Avin22 (1438931) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:55PM (#31991922)
    'Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort,' wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. 'When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life.' I just thought it was a bit ironic to blog about one's Internet addiction
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:56PM (#31991926)

    People today are broken and oversocialized, and more importantly, too careful. The anonymity of the internet coupled with its ability to let people "construct" their image of self that others perceive; take that away, and people are afraid of communicating with others.

    Of course, not with close friends, but you can look at how people in a bus or a subway will stare at the floor and try their best not to make eye contact.

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:56PM (#31991934)

    No, the Internet is not addictive. Nor is texting.

    Certain people are obsessive/compulsive.

  • Inability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:56PM (#31991940)
    Inability to function without social links? You take anyone's friends away and they'll get lonely and anxious. For a lot of students, the internet is the only link to old friends and family that they have. Of course they're going to react badly to being isolated.
  • I don't buy this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blhack (921171) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:59PM (#31991986)

    I thought for a while that I was "addicted" to the internet. I post to blogs a lot, check my twitter like crazy, check the websites I run like crazy etc. etc.

    Then I moved to a new house. Rarely if ever do I even power my computer on while I'm at home now. I'd rather be reading or playing with the dog or riding my bicycle.

    It turns out I was just bored.

    I think kids have set their standards too high. The internet allows the entire world to compete for their attention. Give them something more interesting to obsess over and they will.

    In other words, kids are no more "addicted" to the internet than they were at one point addicted to fishing, or basketball, or any other hobbie that kids have ever had.

  • Breaking News! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w4f7z (837544) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:00PM (#31991996)
    People become sad, annoyed, when not allowed to communicate with their friends. The only thing that has changed here is the mechanism of the communication.
  • Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:02PM (#31992040)

    How much will it take to addict me?

    How many posts until I have to come back every single day?

    When will I start turning down other activities because I have to get back on /.?

    Right now, dinner with friends seems a LOT more interesting.

  • by stavrica (701765) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:03PM (#31992048) Homepage Journal

    Merchants, immersed in the bustling commerce of Rome, who suddenly found themselves shipwrecked along with a handful of other sailors on some island in the Mediterranean would likely have, "showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their " ...familiar environment around which their lives had come to revolve.

  • by vivin (671928) <vivin.paliathNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:04PM (#31992072) Homepage Journal

    I would say that it's only an addiction if it's actively interfering with your normal life. That is, your job, your education, your family, and your interpersonal relationships.

    I don't use IM'ing and texting as much as I used to (in college) but I still use it. I don't think you can really call these addictions. These are just different forms of communication. I just think they might be overreacting a bit. For example, the comment from one of the students about being secluded... one would feel the same way if they were told not to talk to anyone.

    Now if they were whining that they couldn't chat when they were hanging out with their friends... that might be a problem. I think chatting and texting augments social interaction. The problem is when it turns into a substitute. So I'm not saying that internet/text/chatting addiction doesn't exist -- we just have to be careful about defining what internet addiction really is.

  • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:05PM (#31992088)

    I think people are generally social. If you took away some other thing you were used to (like your bus ride to work, car, tv set, news paper, friends etc) would it be normal to feel alone and secluded?

  • Hey I never noticed that... Though I completely agree with you. The internet is addictive and compulsive. Yet I ask is that bad? Why in my day that was called... drum roll... telephone! How many teenies would sit hour after hour after hour on the telephone? The only reason why it has become more obvious is because the devices are mobile. Back in the "good ol days" telephones had long cables, but cables none the less.

  • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryacin (657549) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:15PM (#31992236)
    I still don't understand the pull of fully exposing your private life on the internet for everyone to see. We have encapsulated our lives for countless generations to allow for you to interact with society as a whole without being violated by something in your private sphere.

    I would not trade my privacy for security, and especially not give it away to a faceless corp like facebook.
  • by blhack (921171) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:15PM (#31992240)

    If you're addicted to "the Internet" ... what do you have to show for it?

    Well, personally, I got really into sites like fark (and eventually reddit), but hated a lot of the stuff on them, so I set out to design my own [newslily.com](Although this was the first thing I ever did. A lot of it is very badly designed).

    I've since learned CSS, python, javascript (beacuse I wanted to use ajax), mysql, and apache. To further the basketball analogy, I started watching my favorite team on television *all the time* and decided that I wanted to learn to play as well. My first few tries out (like the example linked about) I stumbled a bit, but have since more-or-less figured it out.

    Point is, internet isn't all bad, so long as you decide to use it as a tool to educate yourself.

  • by laughingcoyote (762272) <barghesthowl.excite@com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:16PM (#31992254) Journal

    'Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort,' wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. 'When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life.'"

    An amazing discovery! Most people like to interact socially with other people, are comforted by being able to talk to people they know and trust, and feel alone and secluded when they do not! I can't believe research hasn't figured that out yet, who would've ever guessed?

    Social interaction with one's friends is still interaction. Technology may make it easier, but that's always been true. Before we had the Internet, people would use telephones to talk, or to plan face to face meetings (and probably use their cars to get to said meetings). The presence of technology in a social interaction doesn't make it any less of one, nor does that mean it's "addictive"-well, any more than any other form anyway, by and large, we're pretty social creatures.

    That's even before you get to the fact that removing just about anything familiar from someone's environment will, to some degree, make them anxious. For some people, even getting a new home can be very stressful-you have to learn new ways around, find the places near you that you'll be going frequently and remember the way there, get used to the new layout for going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and all those other little things we take for granted. This isn't exactly groundbreaking research, and it sure in the hell doesn't demonstrate an "addiction".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:18PM (#31992288)

    Shutting people up in a room for one day and not allowing them any social contact will leave them feeling pretty alone and secluded. One would think that this would be obvious and that a study would be superfluous. Guess some people are still after them damn vidjya games.

  • by lordlod (458156) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:18PM (#31992296)

    People addicted to telephone's are showing increasing signs of not coping well without them. A receptionist said, "My whole day revolves around the telephone, I don't know what I'd do without one."

    This addiction isn't just limited to the classic call center stereotype. Formally normal people like businessmen have gone to extraordinary lengths to satisfy their cravings, "I have a phone I carry everywhere with me, I just find it so hard to be out of touch with the office. I even have the car wired so that I can talk while driving between meetings."

    A guy who provides alarmist quotes for a living told me, "This telephone craze is destroying the very fabric of society, it's a completely abnormal form of communication. People have no idea of your facial expression is or how your gesticulating with your hands. Eventually we will all evolve to just talking with our hands in our pockets, then how will you know who the Italians are!"

    It's vital that we develop treatement plans to assist people in transitioning to a phone free lifestyle, fortunately some profiteering fearmongers have stepped up to the plate. Initial treatement involves lying in a hospital bed with the comfort of the occasional ringing phone in the nurses station, eventually patients progress to walks in a phone free park. The problem is so bad and phones so addicting however that family and friends are smuggling specially designed "mobile" phones into patients, despite clear signs preventing phone use in the area.

  • by Virak (897071) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:23PM (#31992350) Homepage

    Exactly. This study isn't about "Internet addiction", it's about what happens when you cut people off from the vast majority of their social contact. In a shocking result, it doesn't go over well for most of them.

  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@@@omnifarious...org> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:24PM (#31992360) Homepage Journal

    That was my thought on reading this. Try taking a baby boomer's TV, radio, newspaper and telephone away. I bet they'd feel alone and secluded in their lives as well, and feel a sense of anxiety over their loss.

  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:24PM (#31992370) Homepage Journal

    Of course, not with close friends, but you can look at how people in a bus or a subway will stare at the floor and try their best not to make eye contact.

    Did it occur to you that some of us don't enjoy small talk because we're sick of the shallow bite-size noise-ridden internet methods of communication?

    People think I'm weird because I don't have a MySpace or Facebook.

  • Suffering? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:33PM (#31992504)
    Suffer from internet addiction? No! I *enjoy* it, and you'll take my shiny inter-tubes away from me only when you pry them from my cold, dead, cheeto-dust covered fingers!
  • Whats new? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:39PM (#31992556)

    Study shows breaking from routine and habits to be psychologically challenging.
    More news at 11.

  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cryacin (657549) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:39PM (#31992558)
    And I agree it is possible, hence why I stated the pull of fully exposing.

    Do you know how many Junior's we see that apply who have very questionable photos on their FaceBook pages that get pulled up by a simple Google search?

    Not really relevant for a junior hire, but the second that you become even somewhat executive, these kinds of things come back to haunt you.
  • by russotto (537200) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:43PM (#31992608) Journal

    Doesn't really work as a definition for "addicted". To provide a counter example, there are "high-functioning" alcoholics - just as fucked up as regular alkies, but able to hold it together enough to keep a job, maintain relationships (albeit often dysfunctional ones), etc. Often the shit hits the fan for them eventually, though this isn't guaranteed.

    It doesn't really work because "addicted" in the sense of the article is really only being used pejoratively. If you stretch the definition enough you can show that just about any enjoyable activity is "addictive"; further, there are addictions in the narrow sense which are pretty much harmless; caffeine being one.

    The difference between a user and an addict is, when you take their whatever away, the user is okay, and the addict is not.

    Not good enough. The user of anything presumably derives a benefit from using it; that's why they use it. Take that away and of course they're not as well off, and will seek substitutes. If that's addiction, the term is too broad to be of any use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:53PM (#31992718)

    Did it occur to you that some of us don't enjoy small talk because we're sick of the shallow bite-size noise-ridden internet methods of communication?

    Ironically, given what you wrote, you have a Slashdot account and post here.

  • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:01PM (#31992798) Homepage

    The conclusion isn't that people are addicted to the internet.

    The conclusion is that technologically-aided communication has replaced more traditional forms of communication for many young people, and if you remove their preferred method of communication, they are not able to fall back on other methods of communication, at least not in the short term.

    Other things that might make me sad and annoyed:

    - Having to watch TV without a DVR
    - Having to walk to places I would normally drive to
    - Having to answer the phone before knowing whether it's my mother calling or not.

    This doesn't make me addicted to DVRs, cars, or caller ID.

  • by Kugrian (886993) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:07PM (#31992862) Homepage

    If you're addicted to "the Internet" ... what do you have to show for it?

    Knowledge. Thanks to the internet, I can program in a multitude of languages. I can play five different instruments. I can understand three languages. I've had the opportunity to read many classic novels I wouldn't have otherwise. Same with movies. I can make a lot more meals I wouldn't have otherwise been able too. I can fascinate/bore friends with useless trivia.
    And I can masturbate like a racehorse on speed.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:11PM (#31992914)

    Pff.

    I'm also addicted to hanging out with my family, friends and other people: if I don't get to for a long time I start to expereince negative emotions like loneliness.

    I'm addicted to spending time with my girlfriend, when we're apart for a long time I start to miss her terribly.

    For some reason having a psychological need for human company is socially acceptable and not lumped in with addiction.

    By comparison I feel no distress if I'm unable to hang out on message boards and forums like slashdot for an extended period of time.
    But then I don't feel like this is social interaction, I'm not friends with other slashdoters, it's more like reading an interactive newspaper.

    I imagine if a large amount of my social interactions were through online services like myspace etc then my experience when cut off from the net would be far more like being cut off from my friends and girlfriend.

    TFA is a load of bullshit hyperbole.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:21PM (#31993012) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, so I like Slashdot.

    I'm even going to stick my head up Rob Malda's ass and say that it's the best and most convenient place to get an information fix, where every post counts and at least a few people know what they're talking about. Even this little petty argument is more fun than the "LOL JAJA" bullshit of MyBook and Twitter.

    Not everybody gets to live near MIT or Santa Rosa. Why don't you try living in a desolate Christian-dominated shit-town full of paranoid war vets and DHS goons? Try it and come back and tell us how refreshing Slashdot discussions are. Especially if all your friends are all married with kids and work long hours while you are too young to settle down, but too old to have any real fun. Such is the quarter-life crisis.

    Yeah, so I troll Slashdot occasionally. So what, does that hurt your feelings?
  • by socceroos (1374367) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:23PM (#31993038)
    Still, leveling up in RL has a greater ROI.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:52PM (#31993358)

    ...researchers found that the vast majority of people are addicted to talking! When asked not to communicate with anyone else for a full day, many subjects across a wide spectrum of demographics showed signs of withdrawal, discomfort, and an intense feeling that, quote, "this is friggin' stupid."

  • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ph0rk (118461) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:59PM (#31993410)
    Irony can also mean:
    Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.

    We might expect someone that recognizes a debilitating condition to take steps to curtail that condition.
    Sort of like someone inviting you out for a beer to tell you that they're an alcoholic.

    The irony is they haven't realized the extent of their dependence at all.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:13PM (#31993548)

    Which makes it even less believable as an "internet addiction" study, and more like, "if you cut people off from the world, they feel cut off from the world".

    Next up: old people addicted to bingo night.

  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:36PM (#31993754) Journal

    The "study" (by a journalism professor?) is so fatally flawed that I'm keeping this for as test question for my methodology students.

    The discomfort is cognitive dissonance, and it happens whenever someone's expectations are violated, in this case a change in accustom routine. That makes this 'new' study firmly in with the other work that have supported Festinger's theory since he wrote it in 1958.

    The same people who brought you video game addiction, pinball addiction And such are behind this bogus definition. They're the same ones who stand to make money treating the 'problem'.

    WTF is IBTimes and why is someone dragging bad science out of it to post here? Only to skewer it, I hope, because that's about all that's going to happen.

  • Here we go again (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:39PM (#31993786)

    do you have a car or phone addiction?

    new technology integrates and becomes integral to your everyday living experience, OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • by Judinous (1093945) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:49PM (#31993870)
    In other news, Homo sapiens is discovered to be a social animal which suffers from adverse psychological effects when their primary method of communicating with their peers is removed. News at 11.
  • by ecloud (3022) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:01PM (#31993958) Homepage Journal

    They are missing the communication with fellow humans, and the feeling of connectedness, knowing what's going on. You could do a study in which older folks try to avoid talking to anyone at all for a day, and try to also avoid any kind of information intake (newspapers, magazines, TV, etc.) and probably get similar results.

    Reminds me of the hue and cry when I was a kid about how grocery stores got so dependent on barcode scanners and cash registers that they couldn't sell stuff at all if the power went out. Apparently in my parents' day they would have gotten by with a pad of paper and a pencil in that kind of situation.

    Of course doing without the net once in a while might be good as a survival exercise, kindof like power outage preparedness...

  • by antant007 (1702214) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:07PM (#31994010)
    How is this different from normally talking to people?. Ill bet that 90% of people at my school would have a nervous breakdown if they couldn't talk to people. This is simply a different way of talking and expressing yourself.
  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psyborgue (699890) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:09PM (#31994026) Homepage Journal
    What if it was written like this: "'Talking and hanging out with my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort,' wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. 'When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life.'" Could it be a natural feeling of loneliness rather than addiction that is the problem.
  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haruharaharu (443975) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:09PM (#31994032) Homepage
    Wow, isolate someone from their friends and they feel alone - paging Dr. Romero.
  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:46PM (#31994324)

    People today are broken and oversocialized, and more importantly, too careful...people "construct" their image of self that others perceive

    Too careful? They 'construct' the image others see? Do you read the kind of crap people plaster all over Facebook? The ridiculous, copious honesty of those people is exactly why I don't use social media at all. Between the disgusting, the bizarre, and (this is most of it) the completely boring, there's no frickin end to the completely true, unedited drivel oozing all over these social networking venues. There's a difference between open, honest dialogue and telling everything about everything, and these people by and large passed that line five years ago.

    Too careful couldn't be more wrong; social networkers have become so completely unfiltered the entirety of cyberspace overflows with their useless raw data.

  • by broknstrngz (1616893) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @03:20AM (#31996210)
    It's not people developing Internet and gadget addiction, but sociophobes finally reaching out. They've been here all along, but lacked both the skills and the means to socialize. Now they have the means. The skills will hopefully develop. It's only surprising to see how many of them there are.
  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @04:45AM (#31996584) Homepage

    That's all fine in theory. In practice, most people do stuff they wouldn't do in front of their employer. The problem is that many people that put pictures in FB don't realize they are doing it in front of their employer.

  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @04:48AM (#31996598) Homepage

    I don't think he's talking about dumping your whole life in FB and defining some "privacy settings", which FB could disable at any time. I think his talking about not giving much information in the first place, by treating all you put up there like there is no privacy settings.

  • by DWRECK18 (1796294) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @06:34AM (#31997282) Homepage
    Well I never really lived in a suburb, but I had friends that did and I still recall going over there and playing outside all day. I grew up in the city where I had organized sport, which ARE available in the suburbs, and just running around with friends. Now i wasn't a trouble make by any means but still was able to have fun. I see kids today and if they aren't inside glued to a console or computer they are just trying to be cool hanging on street corners. I have seen my city close rec centers that kids used to go to in order to play basketball or hockey. I have seen my old neighborhood sports seize to exist. It is a shame what this country has become and yet everyone wonders why their kids are fat and out of shape. I'm sorry but even you know as I can tell by your post that parents today just aren't pressuring their kids or even offering their kids to get involved with anything that requires the parents to get up and actually do something. Whether its watch them while they play outside or take them to some other organized outdoor activity.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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