With computers in our pockets and high-speed access nearly anywhere, the internet has become an every-present force in our lives. But when does being connected cross the line?
By Alexandra Pecci
It’s become an all-too-familiar sight: People in line at the grocery store, parents sitting on playground benches, commuters on the train, all with their heads bowed and fingers typing furiously on their smartphones, apparently oblivious to everyone and everything around them.
In just a few short years, smartphones and near-constant Internet access have become ubiquitous parts of everyday life. According to the Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults own a cell phone, and 87% use the Internet. Sixty-seven percent of cell owners check their phones even when there aren’t any alerts, and 44% have slept with their phone next to their bed so they wouldn’t “miss anything” at night. And as of December 31, 2014, there were 1.19 billion mobile Facebook users who were active monthly.
The Internet has infiltrated our lives and become a necessity for modern living, just as surely as electricity and cars. We rely on it not only for fun and staying connected, but for business, too. In short, we simply can’t live our lives without it, and it’s become impossible to disconnect.
Is it an addiction?
But when does constant Facebook checking and email monitoring go from a habit to an addiction?
“Internet addiction is a behavioral addiction that is marked by six defining factors,” says Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, senior clinical advisor at Caron Ocean Drive, citing a 1996 paper by Professor Mark Grifﬁths of Nottingham Trent University.
To read more about internet addiction, check out the lastest issue of Renew.