Are You A Dataholic?

You don’t have to look far to find examples of unnecessary Internet use. From smart phone-wielding urbanites texting on every street corner to college students glued to Facebook in the library, connectivity is everywhere, and it can be hard to tell the difference between indulgence and addiction.

According to a Nielsen study, worldwide time spent on social media sites increased 82 percent—from three hours to five and a half hours—between 2008 and 2009. Add that to the Pew Internet Research Center’s recent statistics on teens and cell phone use, reporting that 87 percent of teens text, with an average of 50 messages sent per day. For parents worried about their children’s use of the web and individuals who think they might have a problem, how do you know if you’re a dataholic? The answer isn’t so cut-and-dry.

The Disorder Debate

Besides being normalized by the media (not to mention increasing Wi-Fi connectivity and ever-faster data speeds), excessive Internet use can be difficult to define because not even the experts agree on the validity of the term. Though the last few years have seen an increase in treatment programs for Internet addiction, the diagnosis was denied admission to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called psychologists’ bible.

One critic of Internet addiction’s classification as a disorder is Dr. Ronald Pies, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. “It is premature to declare Internet addiction a discrete disorder, although further research may show that it has elements in common with other conditions affecting the motivation and rewards circuits of the brain,” he said. Stuart Gitlow, the executive director of the Annenberg Physician Training Program in Addictive Disease, agrees: “Humans love devoting hundreds of hours to specific activities,” he said, naming reading and memorizing baseball stats as two examples.

Whether Internet addiction is comparable to other dependencies such as alcoholism is one question, but there certainly are people whose dependence on data is so serious that they seek out assistance.

Seeking Treatment

The last few years have seen more outlets open for self-identified Internet addicts to seek treatment. One such place is the reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program, located in Fall City, Washington. Founded by Cosette Rae and Hilarie Cash in July 2009, the inpatient program has helped nearly 20 clients who stay for a minimum of 45 days. During their stay, clients do not use the Internet, focusing instead on developing life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and time management.

Who is reStart helping? Cash says that the majority of the program’s patients are between the ages of 18 and 28, with men accounting for about two thirds of the participants. The vast majority of reStart’s clients come to the program with an addiction to online gaming.

“What we typically see is that Internet use has had a profound impact on their ability to function in school or work. Most of our participants are dropouts from college,” Cash says. “They often don’t have good social skills, and they’re often not in very good physical health because they’re too sedentary.” One of reStart’s missions is to gain a sense of how a dataholic’s relationship to technology has impacted his life in a negative way and if there is an inability to control and manage that addiction.

Are You A Dataholic?

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options