The www.Addiction


The www.Addiction

Few of Us Can Resist the Seduction of the Internet

By Mary Sykes Wylie

September/October 2010


Let's face it: whatever expert opinion may say, we all know that the Internet is addictive. Of course, you can substitute "seductive" or "habit forming" to avoid the overused diagnostic buzzword, but have you ever noticed how often you visit your favorite site or check e-mail whenever you get stuck with a work-related problem or feel bored or restless or anxious or depressed? Relief is just a click away! Does this remind you of the cigarette break you used to take when you were still smoking, and for the same self-soothing reasons?

The Internet doesn't just provide information or social connection: it can be its own form of cybercoke. You can get a reasonably good high just zooming from alluring link to link, following the ever-receding golden thread of "one more hit," saving sites to your "Favorites," promising each in turn that it's the one you really want, the most important one—only to find your faithless eyes drawn to the next online charmer, and the next, and the next. Spend a few feverish hours mining quotes, opinions, and factoids about postcolonial African literature, Goldman Sachs's role in the Greek financial meltdown, Schoenberg's invention of the 12-tone scale, or even pondering the travails of poor Lindsay Lohan, and you get the heady sensation that you must be acquiring enormous erudition of some sort, even wisdom—and in such a short time period.

At this point in your search for the perfect website, you may take a quick break…

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