6-14 percent US computer users are net addicts

Friday, 20 October 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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SAN FRANCISCO: A new study has revealed that between 6 and 14 percent of US computer users are Internet addicts, unable to resist their urge to check emails, write blogs or surf sites such as MySpace and YouTube.

The study published Thursday by a team of psychiatrists from Stanford University surveyed the surfing habits of 2,500 individuals and found signs of compulsive behaviour in up to 14 percent of participants.

"The survey suggests that it's not an isolated problem - it is relatively widespread, and deserves more attention," said study author Elias Aboujaoude.

"We worry when people use virtual interactions to substitute for real social interactions. Sneaking out of bed, once your partner is asleep, to go online. Missing deadline after deadline at work, while visiting chat rooms. And when you cut back, feeling irritable, anxious or restless. Those are red flags," he said.

Aboujaoude said that in addition to pornography and gambling sites, chat rooms, shopping venues and special-interest Web sites were are also habit-forming.

"The Internet can be both helpful and isolating," Aboujaoude said.

"It becomes a problem when it isolates, substituting for a real social life."

Source: IANS
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