Checking out what is going on in the world today is pretty easy to do thanks to the internet. Social networking, emails, ebooks, shopping, and gaming are also popular activities. It’s so popular and fun, in fact, that being on the internet can be addictive.
Surveys in the United States and Europe have indicated that prevalence rates of internet addiction are as high as 8.2% in the general population. It could be as high as 18.5% in some regions.
Internet Addiction Facts
Just logging onto the internet to check your favorite news sites, update your Facebook status, or play Candy Crush Saga doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has become addicted to the internet. There is a distinctive change in mood where preoccupation with the internet interferes with relationships, creates a negative impact on life, and countries like South Korea and China have classified it as a serious health risk. Despite this, the United States has made no formal response to the idea of internet addiction.
- There is a 25% increase in the size of the internet every 3 months.
- Stanford University did research via telephone in 2006 which showed that 1 out of every 8 of those surveyed had at least one problem due to too much use of the internet.
- About 9% of people tried to hide needless Internet use of the internet from their bosses, friends, and family.
- 6% of people said that their relationships suffered as a result of too much time spent online.
- 8%. That’s the percentage of people who say that they use the internet as a way to escape from their problems.
- If kept away from the internet for a few days, 13.5% of people said that they would struggle with the inability to be online.
- The percentage of people who say that they feel like they are addicted to the internet: 61%.
- Only 39% of people say that they’d be able to quit using the internet today if they wanted to do so.
Many of the characteristics of an internet addiction are very similar to other daily addictions that people have. Just like caffeine use, people will actually suffer from headaches, muscle aches, and feel like they have to get more of the internet. If they do, then those physical symptoms actually go away. If they do not, then the withdrawal symptoms can actually become worse. Some people can quit the internet cold turkey and never look back. For most people, however, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their relationships and life are being ruined by the internet, but they feel like if they give up the internet, their lives will be ruined as well. This is why treatment centers in the US are having people come to them for help, even though an addiction to the internet isn’t classified as a disorder in the DSM.
Who Has The Most Problems With the Internet?
- In the 13-17 age demographic, up to 3 out of every 4 kids could be considered addicted to the internet.
- The percentage of 18-24 year olds who would qualify as being addicted to the internet today: 71%.
- People who are in the 65+ age demographic are more likely to be addicted to the internet [44%] than the 55-64 age demographic [39%] and the 45-54 age demographic [40%].
- Starting at the age of 25, internet addiction rates grow steadily less until people reach the age of 65 when usage rates begin to spike again.
- Half of the 35-44 age demographic may qualify as being addicted to the internet.
These are self-reported numbers, of course, because clinical studies on this matter are very limited. It is striking to see that people believe they could be addicted to the internet on their own at a 3x great rate in some instances than medical professionals believe. In the 13-17 age demographic, teens are 10x more likely to think of themselves as addicted to the internet when compared to the medical data. It is these statistics that are most troubling. Although emails and a social network are good things, sometimes a phone conversation or a face-to-face meeting is necessary to get business done. The next generation is primed to interact more online with each other than in person.
Internet Addiction Can Happen To Anyone
- Women [64%] are more likely than men [55%] to consider themselves addicted to the internet.
- 48% of people who say they smoke regularly are also addicted to the internet. 65% of nonsmokers say that the internet is their vice.
- Nondrinkers [64%] are also more likely to say they are addicted to the internet than those who regularly drink alcohol [57%].
- In the last ten years, internet use in the United States has gone from 1 in every 2 people to 4 out of every 5 people.
- A yearlong survey that was taken in 2010 showed that the average American spent above 35 hours per day on the internet.
- Although the 45-54 age demographic has one of the lowest self-reporting rates of internet addiction, the average person spends as much time on the internet each week as they do at work.
It is impossible to judge internet addiction today through stereotypes. Anyone from any walk of life can become addicted to the information, interactions, and gaming experiences that the internet has to offer. There does seem to be a higher prevalence of internet addiction amongst those who don’t already have another addiction, possibly because people using the internet regularly might feel like they’re keeping themselves away from the harmful habits of life that could ruin everything. The only problem is that in order to avoid an addiction, people using the internet regularly could be creating a brand new addiction that they don’t even see.
Internet Addiction Can Strike Anywhere
- A 2002 study in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior found that 60% of companies surveyed had disciplined an employee for using the internet while on the clock.
- 30%. That’s the number of employers who have fired at least one employee for inappropriate use of the internet.
- In the past, employees were terminated for visiting pornography websites. Today employees are being terminated for social networking and gaming.
- The average time it takes for an addiction to the internet to make itself known: 6-12 months of use.
- 8% of internet users can become addicted within the first 3 months of being online.
- 1 out of 2 workers today has a severe occupational impairment because of their internet addiction.
- 35% of people use chat applications, such as Facebook Messenger, as their primary method of satisfying their addiction to the internet.
The problem that we have in the modern workplace is that the internet is required for many jobs. Workers are also extremely tech savvy today, which means they can beat some of the firewalls that are in place to prevent inappropriate internet use. Many people don’t see any issue in the blending of the professional responsibilities and their personal life, but as soon as that happens, work productivity goes down. 85% of workers today have at least a moderate occupational impairment because of how they use the internet. The cost to employers for lost time is easily in the billions of dollars every year and even if an employee isn’t disciplined or terminated, their job performance suffers because they’re rushing through the work.
How Bad Has the Addiction Become?
- 27% of people today check Facebook while they are going to the bathroom.
- In a small study of internet users, 82% of people who accessed the internet were found to spend more time online than anticipated.
- 1 in 5 people will wake up in the middle of the night to check their Facebook account.
- 34%. That’s the percentage of people who check for status updates or access their favorite websites from their smartphone before getting out of bed.
- Only 1% of introductory psychology books mention that internet addiction could be a mental disorder.
- People who have long-term internet addiction have found that there is up to a 20% surface area of brain shrinkage that occurs, which is similar to what happens with an addiction to alcohol.
In many ways, an addiction to the internet is very much like an impulse control disorder. The good news is that this means there are some effective treatment options that are available right now to help with this addiction. One of the most promising is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT], which helps people identify their thoughts and feelings behind their addiction and then begin working to change their thinking patterns. With the internet ever growing and the world becoming more connected than ever before, internet addiction looks to keep rising. By knowing the statistics behind the addiction, treatment can be sought and lives can literally be saved.