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The Internet is perhaps the greatest invention of all time. It’s certainly up there amongst the main contenders, even now when it’s still only in its infancy. The possibilities this interconnected web of computer networks presents for the future of humanity is unquantifiable but I suspect we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

Unfortunately the positives are accompanied by negatives, and too much of a good thing can be harmful. Internet addiction and the feelings evoked by being continually on the grid aren’t mere concepts but actual issues that need to be discussed and confronted. Hence the topic of last week’s ‘We Ask You‘ column which asked a very simple question that I felt many would struggle to answer honestly.

Are You Addicted To The Internet?

We asked you, Are You Addicted To The Internet? The response was fair and gave a good indication of the thoughts of MakeUseOf regulars. A surprising number of people claimed they were indeed addicted to the Internet. They felt no shame in admitting as much, suggesting few see it as a problem that requires attention.

All addictions can, to a certain extent, be classified in the same way, whether it be smoking, drinking, sex, drugs, or a particular activity. Some of these are obviously more harmful than others, and the research into how harmful Internet addiction can be hasn’t yet been done. But there are some obvious negatives associated with it.

Being addicted to the Internet isn’t yet seen as a problem by most, but whether it will be regarded as such in hindsight is an issue future generations will invariably have to face head-on.


Comment Of The Week

Comment of the week goes to Vipul Jain, who won with this comment:

I definitely am addicted to the net, I keep checking updates for XDA, Facebook, Thinkdigit to follow up topics. Even MUO. But I have made sure that whatever I may be doing, it never takes an upper hand over my real life.

Eg: I am playing Counter Strike online, and my mom calls for some work, thats it, game can be paused, real life can’t..

Also I always prefer to hang out with friends over chatting them up lamely. Lately I have even moved over the fact “Pics or it didn’t happen”, so I am trying hard to kick Facebook out as a life essential..

This comment is a strong one for various reasons. It’s someone openly admitting they’re addicted to the Internet, but suggesting that they’re trying to strike a balance between online and offline activities. It also contains a reminder that everything we do online, including playing video games, shouldn’t get in the way of real life and real relationships with real people. Which is a reminder to us all to keep things in perspective.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. ‘We Ask You’ is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: Paull Young

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  1. Declan Lopez
    August 26, 2012 at 3:40 am

    i'm addicted. i am on the internet almost all day doing very unproductive things.

  2. Kaashif Haja
    August 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I'm addicted to the internet. I play online games, read articles, watch movies, TV online, do some tweaks. But i spend only few mins on social networking sites. During the weekends i sit for 12 hours & i rarely give a break. I'm trying to reduce my addiction. But as technology develops, my addiction gets increased exponentially!

  3. Spencer Vincent
    July 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Sometimes it scares me how hours can fly by and I have done nothing productive online, damn you Angry Birds! :P

  4. Ben
    July 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Are there extreme side effects to Internet addiction?

  5. Shane La Horie
    July 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Most certainly addicted to the internet.

  6. Vipul Jain
    July 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    thnx ^_^

    • Dave Parrack
      July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      I have to take the points back off you now for using that smiley... kidding! ;)