Are you an Internet Addict?

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Are You Addicted to the Internet?

I hate being offline. I’m not sure if anyone else feels like this as well but when I’m offline for more than a few days I start to get anxious; not so much that it becomes a problem, but I always know there are emails in my inbox, things I want to do online… it nags at me and then when I do go online, there’s so much to catch up on that it makes me want to turn off the screen again.

I call the feeling iGuilt and I’ve had a really bad case of it lately. I’ve been a little distracted and haven’t been able to do more than just check my email and I even let that slip for a day. And when I came back on, I had over 30 emails to reply to. Well, they can wait; another day’s not going to hurt them. What I’ve actually missed more has been blogging. Answering comments, catching up on other blogs… it’s funny how much it becomes a part of your life. I’m looking forward to catching up later.

Being offline never happens at a good time, though, does it? I’d just got some ideas for new posts and of course that’s when it happens, not when I have blogger’s block! I’ll get to them over the next few days but I thought I’d just post a quick quiz today to go with the update; this seemed like a good one to go along with the iGuilt. 😉

Apparently I’m a pretty normal internet user. I guess I’d agree with that; I’ve never had too many problems online. But I’ve often wondered about internet addiction. We treat it sceptically but in South Korea and Japan there are entire centres for internet addiction. I’m not sure why we dismiss it so easily here but it’s simple to see how it could have a major impact on someone’s life… more people are spending longer and longer online and the impact that can have on our health and relationships shouldn’t be underestimated.

One thing I wonder, though, is whether it’s a true addiction or merely a symptom of other disorders? Many internet addicts suffer from depression and emotional problems and for others it can hide impulse disorders and gambling addictions. Using one term to cover everything seems to give the wrong idea. And unlike other addictions, aren’t most forms of internet addiction self-inflicted? Obviously it’s not as simple as just stopping, but no one forces someone online to begin with, so aren’t they responsible in some way?

I’m not sure myself. Most experts think that the problem can correct itself, suggesting it’s more that someone has to unlearn a behaviour… but then that can’t be true for everyone. If someone has an addictive personality, their brains are wired differently; once they start, they lose all control and they can’t stop even if they try. You only need to look at some of the people who died playing video games to see that.

Perhaps what we’re really talking about is the difference between an obsessive personality and an addictive one. For some people it becomes an obsession; spending too many hours online, losing track of time… it builds up over time, but it’s something they can change if they try. But for others it really is an addiction, something they have no control over. It takes over their lives until they can think of nothing else… it’s only going to become a bigger problem in the future as well, so hopefully it’s taken more seriously.

I know I don’t have a problem online but I try to be careful. Often I’m online for most of the day; part of it’s work and the rest of the time I’m doing research. Because I’m on a lot there’s always the risk I’ll come to depend on it, and in a way I have; that’s what I found with being offline for a few days, I missed it. But I think that’s natural as well. The net has changed; the content is better and there are reasons to want to be online, not least of which is the community. Like anything it’s making sure that you stay in control and can enjoy what the net has to offer. At the moment I think I’ve got a good balance… even if it comes with iGuilt every now and then. 🙂

So what about you? Are you addicted to the internet? How do you balance real life with virtual life? If you have any tips, I could use them at the moment. 😉

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

Your Personality is 59% Addictive

 

You may have an addictive personality, but you have it mostly under check. Just don’t start any new bad habits, okay?

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

Haven’t had time for the post I’d planned today; I’ve got my writing group tomorrow, so I’ve been busy preparing for that. It’s probably going to be the last meeting, but at least I’ll have some of my time back afterwards. 😉

So I found a couple of fun quizzes to post today instead. The first one goes along with my post on luck and gambling. It’s pretty much what I expected; my personality isn’t too addictive, but I can get carried away sometimes…

The second one is a lot of fun: The Simpsons Personality Test! Which Simpsons character are you most like? I think Mr. Burns suits me. I’ve always wanted to release the hounds. 😛

You Are Mr. Burns

Okay, so you’re evil… You have big plans to rule the world, and you’ll destroy it in the process if necessary!
You will be remembered for: the exploitation of the masses.

Life philosophy: “One dollar for eternal happiness? I’d be happier with the dollar.”

The Simpsons Personality Test

When luck smiles on you

I’m starting to think I should buy a lottery ticket. I’ve never been a particularly lucky person; I tend to believe that things happen more when we work for them, or like karma. But lately I’ve felt like my fortunes have improved… and I’m wondering how far I should push it?

Last week was the Melbourne Cup. It’s Australia’s biggest horse race – and an excuse to party. They call it The Race That Stops A Nation because it’s watched by millions; work stops (or people call in sick), most schools pause, it’s a public holiday in Melbourne, and everybody at the track dresses up and drinks champagne. Most of the outfits are good; some are tragic. Of course they’re the memorable ones. 😉

Usually I don’t bet, but I make an exception for the Cup. And this year I won! Efficient became the first horse since Phar Lap to win the Victoria Derby/Melbourne Cup double. Incredibly I got the quinella as well, which is a first for me. I’ve won the Cup six times now, though I know nothing about racing.

Winning was a nice surprise, and since then I’ve had small things go my way. Nothing major, but still the kind of things that don’t happen for me that often. I thought I was going to be late for a bus and it arrived just as I got there, which never happens; I heard from a few friends I hadn’t heard from in a while; there was an unadvertised sale at one of the music stores and I got 2 DVDs and a couple of CDs I hadn’t been able to find for years, and on sale. And just today a letter which I thought I’d lost or thrown away turned up when I decided I’d have one last look for it. I swear I’d looked through that drawer a hundred times, but today, there it was.

Of course all of these are probably just coincidences, but I can’t help feeling like I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment. And I think that’s the most likely reason. Winning put me in a good mood and I think if we feel happier, then often it has a roll-on effect; more good things seem to happen to us and we don’t notice the bad in the same way. We make our own luck.

The thing which worries me about that feeling is I can see how easily it can fuel addiction. I’m not a big gambler at all, but it’s a great rush when you win; it’s the thrill of beating the odds, of having luck with you, and you wonder if you can do it again. And again. Before you know it, suddenly you’re in debt, or worse you find you can’t stop. I imagine that’s how it feels for any addiction; gambling, alcohol, drugs. Perhaps that’s how addiction begins; a simple win betting $10 on a horse and something clicks in your mind, and from then on there’s something inside you that you can’t be rid of, hard as you try.

I don’t have an addictive personality, so I’m not worried about that myself; I only bet once or twice a year and I’m rarely tempted to gamble in other ways. But I do think it’s a problem for a country that one of its most celebrated days be dedicated to gambling. The week before the Cup, there’s so much coverage that you can’t escape it; for that week we glorify gambling and any ads or warnings are scarce. The Cup is part of our national heritage; we embrace it as part of our nature, but we don’t want to deal with the consequences of that – the ugly addictions beneath the surface. I’m not sure what that says about our culture.

But it is a great day, one of the few days that really does unite us as a nation, and for most people it’s just a chance to let their hair down and have some fun. That’s what it is for me. I’m still amazed I won, and that Lady Luck has been smiling on me since. So what do you think? OZ Lotto‘s up to $8,000,000 this Tuesday. Should I buy a ticket? 🙂