Internet Addiction Disorder
There has been an increased buzz the past few days about Internet Addiction Disorder. I thought I’d better check this out. Since I started blogging, I have been spending an awful lot of time on the internet. What with researching, writing, reading, organizing, thinking, and corresponding, I probably spend 4 or 5 hours a day on the computer in the wintertime. Last summer, it was more like 1 hour, and at the cabin it was 0 hours. Nevertheless, if I have developed a full blown Mental Disorder, (other than any of the other ones the family suspects I might have), I would like to be the first person to identify it.
The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders seemed like a good place to start. The first sentence that caught my eye was: “Many people believe that spending large amounts of time on the Internet is a core feature of the disorder. The amount of time by itself, however, is not as important a factor as the ways in which the person’s Internet use is interfering with their daily functioning.”
Daily Functioning – that was a key clue to investigate for sure. I jotted it down in my Blue’s Clues Notebook (I sure miss watching that show with the Grandchildren – they outgrew it) and headed off to find the “Functioning Inspector” (my Spousal Unit). He’s my go-to guy when I want to find out how badly I am misinterpreting things. “So,” I said casually. “Do you think I’m functioning okay?”
He looked at me like he often does when he can’t figure out why on earth I said what I did, and responded with a pithy “What!?”
Clearly I hadn’t explained the situation very well. “Daily Functioning. Am I functioning, daily, pretty much the way I always have?”
He responded, cautiously, “Why?” He wanted to test the waters to see if there was a safe way to reply to this.
“Well, I was wondering if this writing thing I’m doing is interfering with my day to day functioning.”
He didn’t answer right away. I think he was running down his mental check list of things I do for him. Clean underwear – check. Whatever else he thinks I should do – check. “No, I don’t think what you are doing is interfering with your daily functioning.”
So far so good. “What about socially? Is this affecting my social life? Am I using the computer and the internet as a replacement for social interaction?”
He thought for a moment, a brief one at that. “No, you’ve always been a Loner. Extroverted at times, but a loner, still the same. That hasn’t changed.”
I jotted a few things down next to Daily Functioning – Good – Loner. I was making real progress here. Steve (of Blue’s Clues) never looked for more than three clues, so I figured I was pretty much done with my investigation. I plunked myself down in my Thinking Chair, and started to write this post.
I concluded that… oh, wait, you should see some of the interesting things I found when I was researching this disorder, and pondering how disordered I might be:
Correct Use of Quotation Marks
I used a lot of quotation marks while trying to relay to you what the verbal exchange was between my Spousal Unit and me. I may not have got all the punctuation right, but I didn’t feel like wandering off in search of punctuation today. I also enclosed “Functioning Inspector” in quotation marks, which, according to some sources probably isn’t entirely right, but I liked the way they looked.
I couldn’t complete my assessment of whether I had a serious disorder or not without thinking about what it means to be a Loner. While Loners are often considered to be Introverted, I decided I leaned towards being an Extroverted Introverted Loner. You know, the kind that can easily meet and talk to strangers, but would sooner read about someones life than listen to the person explain their life.
After all my sleuthing and consulting, I decided I don’t have an Internet Addiction Disorder. In fact, I think I could spend 8 or 9 hours a day on my computer without appearing any more addicted than the millions of other people in the world who spend all day tippy tapping on their keyboards all day. The only difference is, most of them get paid to do it.
How about you? Have you thought about whether you are addicted to the internet?