I’m Addicted to the Internet

Published by Internet Addiction Center on

I’m Addicted to the Internet

 Recent reports indicate that about 80% of households have high-speed internet connections and that the average adult spends about ½ their entire day interacting with media.  About 61% of Generation z (birth years in the 1990’s to early 2000’s) spend 5-10 hrs per day on their smartphone.  According to the same data set looking at Generation z, about 35% spend 5-9 hrs per day on their phone and 26% spend 10+ hrs on their smart phone.   People are spending more and more time in front of a screen and using the internet is essential to complete work and school tasks. If we already spend so much time plugged-in, when does internet usage become excessive?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5 listed Internet Gaming Disorder in the “Emerging measures and Models section”.  However, the World Health Organization (WHO) , the leading body in global health, will list Gaming Disorder in the International Classification of Diseases or ICD-11.   The WHO defines gaming disorder in the ICD-11 as:

“…impaired control over gaming,  increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”  

In clinical practice, the major issue is the excessive amount of time that young people in particular are spending on social media and gaming.  Excessive internet use comes to the attention of a mental health professional when there is clearly a problem. Typical problems include depressed mood, anxiety, falling grades, decreased desire to leave the home and family difficulties.  The hope is that the listing of this well recognized disorder in the ICD-11 will allow for early identification and treatment of gaming disorders and other internet related disorders.  

A normally functioning young adult and adolescent in 2019 is expected to use technology both in and out of the classroom.  You can use your smartphone to learn calculus at the Khan Institute, but, you can also waste 5 hours watching people play Minecraft.  Healthy use of technology involves a good dose of impulse control, or basically an almost constant Marshmallow test.  

If you find yourself irritated, depressed or anxious when you don’t have access to your screen or device AND you are suffering with your academics, personal life or work, you may be addicted to the internet.  Please seek help if you think you have an issue!