Cognitive Daily

The idea of a distinct “internet addiction” problem separate from, say, compulsive gambling or obsession with pornography isn’t especially new. It’s been studied since at least 1999, and we reported on one attempt to describe it in 2004.

Yet in the U.S., there has been no serious effort to quantify it until now. A new study of over 2,500 adults has found some dramatic results:

  • 13.7 percent (more than one out of eight respondents) found it hard to stay away from the Internet for several days at a time
  • 12.4 percent stayed online longer than intended very often or often
  • 12.3 percent had seen a need to cut back on Internet use at some point
  • 8.7 percent attempted to conceal non-essential Internet use from family, friends and employers
  • 8.2 percent used the Internet as a way to escape problems or relieve negative mood
  • 5.9 percent felt their relationships suffered as a result of excessive Internet use

These results are less dramatic than the Hong Kong study we cited earlier, but they certainly do reveal that there is a significant problem, and the internet is part of it. Whether the symptoms Elias Aboujaoude’s team has identified are the source of the problem remains to be seen. For those who are interested, I’ve included a poll below the fold where we can attempt to quantify CogDaily readers’ “internet addiction.”


  1. #1 Andrea
    October 19, 2006

    Maybe it is just me, but I think that hiding non-essential internet use from friends and family vs. employers are two separate issues. I know that most employers have rules as to personal internet use, and even if no specific rules are in place, my guess is that most employers look down on using internet access for personal tasks on company time.

  2. #2 Terry
    October 20, 2006

    Considering that:

    – “An average person watched television 4 hours
    and 32 minutes each day” 2004-2005

    – internet users are online an average of
    9 hours per week 2005-2006

    which means, I would think, that TV addiction
    is a much bigger problem than internet addiction.

    That said, I probably should cut back on the blogs…

  3. #3 David Group
    October 20, 2006

    I love this blog. Every day I come on here I learn something new. I could spend hours at a time just . . . oh, no! NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  4. #4 Tlönista
    October 20, 2006

    Yeah, there may be some self-selection going on here…

    *presses Refresh again*


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