Are You An Internet Addict?

New Study Finds Many Can't Leave Their Computers

Simply by finding this story you may be showing symptoms of what a new British report warns is a worldwide plague.

We've all heard the stories of people hunched over their computers late at night looking for nuggets of information filed in some faraway database but so easily accessible through the Internet.

The report says late-night hacking not only has people going off to work tired and bleary-eyed but also that the plague has spread to the office.

More than a thousand managers surveyed in the United States, Britain, Europe and the Far East indicate the cyberworld is producing a growing number of dataholics.

Half Surveyed Know Internet 'Addicts'

Half those questioned said that if information was a recognized drug, they knew an addict. More than three-quarters said they believed that acquiring information can be addictive.

"People are always a bit nervous they are missing something. You know, there's a bit of information just around the corner," said Paul Waddington, who helped to write the report. "Maybe there's something they haven't seen that they should have seen. And I think that creates this information craving,"

One anonymous addict says whole days at the office can disappear in the search for some supposedly vital bit of business intelligence.

"In some cases," he said, "the whole time up to lunch time is spent hunting through information, reading up on information, you know the magazines, the trade journals, sites on the Internet, e-mails and then in the afternoon you sort of get on with work."

Hooked Up, Then Pulled Plug

One company that might have known better ran into productivity problems when it hooked employees to the Net. Sequent Computer Systems manager Marcos Gonzalez-Flower said productivity dropped because employees spent so much time finding interesting but relatively useless information.

"People would come in and the first thing in the morning, the first thing they'd do is actually look up the share price, which was great...understanding where we are financially is brilliant," he said. "But they very quickly realized that if they spent all day looking at what was happening with the company and not actually doing anything to support it, it wouldn't help the company grow."

The report, which was commissioned by the Reuters news and information service, says one symptom of the problem is Internet addicts spend so much time gathering information they don't have the time to do anything with the facts they've found.

But that's enough information from this story. Who knows how much you've missed while you were reading it?

Source: ABC News

next:  Internet Addiction: Is it just this month's hand-wringer for worrywarts, or a genuine problem?
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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 19). Are You An Internet Addict?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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