In news that makes us think about how much time we actually spend on the Internet, researchers now say our inability to log off could be due to Internet addiction (not because we tell ourselves that we just have to see if so-and-so responds to our Facebook post or if we can get to the next level of whatever mind-numbing game we are playing).
This so-called addiction is very real according to a new study that says it creates changes in our brains similar to the effect of drugs and alcohol. Am I the only one who thinks that gaming is lame? If you want to get high, why not just go out and party, right? (In moderation, of course.)
But that’s not entirely realistic. Maybe because this research was conducted with underage 17-year-old. OK, they need to avoid all drugs and alcohol, but how about getting “high” with exercise? Just saying. Maybe that’s a shameless plug to get more kids exercising, but hey, as any runner knows, there is not much else that’s better than a runner’s high.
Anyway, researchers in China scanned the brains of these teens who are web addicts and found some interesting effects on their brains when they were online–gaming, for the most part. Apparently, the changes were similar to brain alterations observed in people addicted to alcohol and cocaine. Yikes.
And prior studies tell us that it’s not just uninspired, socially-awkward teens who can’t turn off the Internet. Nearly 69% of adult Americans are Internet users and almost 14% of us admit that it’s hard to stay away from it for a few days. Another 6% also say it negatively impacts our relationships, while almost 8% say they hide their real Internet usage from friends and family.
Worried that you might be an Internet addict? Unless you’re one of the 5-10% of the population who uses the Internet for hours of gaming without food and drink while and neglecting, say, your job or your family, you are probably not. Then again, there are probably plenty who do the exact same thing in front of the TV.
Still, if we’re looking for a high, we’d vote for an occasional girl’s night out with a glass or three of wine instead.