Originally created 08/28/99

Hits empty lives of Internet 'addicts'



I read the Aug. 23 article concerning Internet addiction and felt compelled to respond.

I do not have a "study" of my own that supports my opinion, however, I have several years of experience as both an Internet user and developer to draw upon. I cannot believe people are claiming an "addiction" to something as unreal as the Internet. For many of those same people, I seriously doubt they even are aware that the Internet is nothing more than a collection of code pages located on servers across the globe.

True addiction, by the definitions I am aware of, usually fall under the categories of physio-chemical substances that have a measurable and well-defined set of reactions and sub-reactions with the human body to cause the effects of that particular addiction. (Example: nicotine replacing certain chemicals in the brain with its own, making it harder to quit smoking.) ...

This type of "Internet addiction" (as described in the article) seems to be similar to that kind of behavioral excess noted during the early days of television or the classic "teen-agers and the telephone" sort of thing, where people find a new medium of communication and pursue it to excess because of something else seemingly lacking in their lives. There is nothing inherently addictive about the Internet; however, as the newest communication medium, it does provide a means of combining other aspects of social behavior. This may be the primary reason that so much attention is being given the Internet by the users and so-called "abusers." ...

The fact that people are feeling more and more "dependent" on the Internet is not a result of its addictive nature, but rather an indication of how deeply it is becoming useful and even necessary to some people for the running of their everyday lives. ...

John D. Magruder, Aiken