The American Psychiatric Association is wondering about all that time you spend online: Its new, fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—the official book of disorders, basically—lists "Internet-use gaming disorder" in a section of "conditions recommended for further study." Experts say the APA is exploring all manner of Internet addiction. So let the studying begin!
Our poll of 162 Fast Company readers revealed:
- 47.5% YES, I’m internet-addicted (average time spent online per day: 8.1 hours)
- 52.5% NO, I’m not addicted (average time spent online per day: 7.7 hours)
What have you forgone in order to keep using the Internet?
- 70% SLEEP
- 68% GOING TO THE BATHROOM
- 40% TIME WITH FRIENDS
- 37% TIME WITH SIGNIFICANT OTHER
- 31% TIME WITH PARENTS OR SIBLINGS
- 28% MEALS
- 12% TIME WITH CHILDREN
- 7% MEETINGS
- 2% TREATING AN INJURY
Are these people addicts? There’s no official way to say, but most probably aren’t. A 2010 Dutch study found that only 1.5% of that nation’s adolescents suffer from "compulsive Internet use," and a 2009 Beijing study said a clinically Internet-addicted person must experience both preoccupation and withdrawal, along with many other symptoms.
[Illustration by Ward Sutton]
A version of this article appeared in the June 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.