Internet Addiction: A Cultural Evolution Becomes a Disease

Many, if not most of the social advances of the new millennium can be attributed to the advances we have made in communication technology.

As a human populace, we have been enthralled, engaged, empowered and ultimately unified by the leaps and bounds we have made in our ability to connect using digital platforms as our sounding board.

Looking at some recent stats from various syndicated data sources:

  • there are over 2 billion internet users worldwide
  • 294 billion is the average number of e-mails sent per day.
  • It took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users, 13 years for TV, and only 5 years for the Internet.
  • In 2014, mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage and already in 2011, more than 50% of all “local” searches are done from a mobile device.
  • 86% of mobile users are watching TV while using a mobile phone.
  • 350+ million (over 40% of all users) access Facebook from a mobile device.

With the rapid speed of change that of communication proliferation, you would think it would be driving us crazy.  The answer is, “yup”.

Much like any good thing, when used to excess, even communication and technology can be harmful.

A recent Newsweek article talks to the deleterious effects of the “internets”:

It’s gotten to the point where you can barely find a vacation destination that isn’t  “wired”.  I overheard a conversation recently where someone was shocked that they were given a wireless password upon checking into a campground.   Rest assured, however…there are luxury travel destinations (as this narcissistic anthropologist predicted years ago) that will charge you extra for a room without a TV and no cell service.  🙂

Yes, we are social creatures.  Human nature drives us to connect and communicate so we can subsist and maintain our way of life.  But at what point is it maladaptive to survival and how many people have to go OCD before we learn?

Don’t ask me.  I’m still rehabbing from Bejeweled Blitz and Foursquare…hoping to kick my facebook status habit and use this blog to alleviate my need for approval.  So far, however, my blog stats (which I check obsessively) are leaving me feeling like I should get back to earning virtual badges….



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