I must prelude this post with a little background. I am currently taking online classes through Bryant & Stratton College, and every week we have to participate in a ‘discussion’. This week’s discussion in Philosophy250 is IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder).
I must admit when I first read the topic I was convinced this was a real disorder. I know from personal experience what it is like to suffer from withdrawal symptoms from technology. In my first semester of college I was having so much trouble concentrating on my assignments because I could not focus my attention on my work for more than a few minutes without checking my Facebook. I tried but failed many times to limit my internet usage to certain hours per day and not going on Facebook in the middle of writing a paper. I even deactivated my account multiple times, yet I always ended up going back because I realized it was my primary method of contact with the outside world (which is a whole different problem in and of itself). However, after doing some research, I must side with John M. Grohol Psy.D. We are approaching the problem the wrong way. Internet addiction is not a disorder by itself, but a symptom of other problems. I went on Facebook compulsively because I wanted to avoid doing work, and because I have other social problems that cause me to feel secluded, and Facebook “fixed” both of those problems for me. Dr. Grohol likens the escapism to going out with friends to avoid being at home when you are unhappy in your marriage. He also likens the addiction to watching too much tv or reading too many books. He calls this “Compulsive over-use.” (John M. Grohol, 2012)
If we put every little symptom into it’s own category of disease then it is going to take us a long time to fill out medical history forms, because we are all very ill.
John M. Grohol, P. (2012, January 5). Internet Addiction Guide. Retrieved from PsychCentral: http://psychcentral.com/netaddiction/