internet and social media addictions

According to a Fox News.com article titled, “One in 10 Video-Game Players Addicted, Study Finds”, it says, in part,

Researchers at Iowa State University (ISU) and the National Institute on Media and the Family found that some gamers show at least six symptoms of gambling addiction such as lying to family and friends about how much they play games, using the games to escape their problems and becoming restless or irritable when they stop playing.

Today’s Lesson

Having read the above article, I began thinking. What about other people like bloggers and those who spend an excessive amount of time engaging in social media? Do they become addicted, too?

Apparently so.

Mary articles are posted online pointing to how people are becoming addicted to the internet and to social media. Some claim it’s an epidemic and have labeled it as “Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).

Social media addiction has become so prevalent, support groups have been formed on FaceBook.

If it hasn’t happened already, I’m guessing Twitter will be next.

We often hear bloggers joking about being addicted to blogging.

That makes me wonder, are we the next to form a support group?

Maybe so.

With blogging keeping us glued to our blogs hammering out posts, checking for comments, reviewing our statistics, jumping from blog to blog leaving comments, changing our themes, logging in to review subscriber counts and possible income from our advertising accounts, we’re a prime example of who could easily become addicted.

Not to worry though, there are now tests online to see if we indeed have a problem.

For those who want to know if they are addicted to social media sites, here’s a 14 question quiz titled, Social Media Addition Test

Upon completion of the test, there’s a widget we can add to our site showing our readers the results.

Want to know if you’re addicted to the internet? The Internet Addiction Test is available through Center For Internet Addiction.

When I look at how so many people become addicted to video games, social media sites and spending too much time online, I realize this is a serious matter.

It’s more than just enjoying the interactions and making cyber friendships.

For some, it’s a much deeper rooted issue.

Today’s Assignment

Do you feel you spend too much time blogging?

Do you think you might be addicted or see the potential of becoming addicted?

I often joke how I’m a blogoholic. I now realize it’s not so funny.

What do you think?

signature for blog post.

P.S. To read more about internet addiction, Dr. Kimberly S. Young has written a book titled, Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet AddictionÔÇöand a Winning Strategy for Recovery


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Look Who's Talking
  1. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. According to the Social Media Addiction quiz I am 32% addicted. Not as bad as I thought. My online time varies. Sometimes I will go a few days were I might only comment on a few blogs. Then other days I go crazy. I’ve come to know my “habit” and am getting pretty good at self-managing.

  2. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    I am not addicted to blogging (not yet at least) i can say no to blogs or cyber world for more than month in a raw.

    And SMA agree with me my score is 31% addicted ­čśë

  3. David WrightNo Gravatar says:

    I can see the irony in someone tweeting this.

    Are you addicted to Twitter? Check this out and tweet back the results.

    I would say I’m more addicted to working on the web than to the social aspects of blogging. My time online is usually spent looking for work, researching and learning how to better my skill set. Not necessarily blogging, but in hopes of improving my blogging.

    I think the true test of addiction is whether or not it’s affecting your life. If your spouse has forgotten what you look like, it’s probably a sign that YES, you are addicted. Which is why I keep a photo up of myself just outside my office door.

  4. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    I feel confindent in saying that I’m not addicted to Blogging even though I haven’t done the test.
    Blogging is the only form of social media that I participate in and I feel confident that I won’t use anything else. It just doesn’t appeal to me to spend endless hours in front of a computer screen.
    I don’t blog purely for social interaction.
    I get enthusiastic about blogging sometimes and about other blogs, but not to the point where I can’t let go.
    No life outside blogging makes for a very dull blog.

    Would we say that a painter/artist is addicted to paint?
    I guess there’s always going to be social problems in all areas of lifes activities.

    best wishes Ribbon

  5. Another good question would be, are you addicted to building your business?

    For some, blogging is their way they make their living on the Internet. For others, it’s simply a respite.

    What I’ve discovered is that when I’ve pushed myself TOO much, my mind simple shuts down regarding anything to do with computers, and I just call up the kids or take a rest. I’m almost to the point I can self-regulate my actions…and when it’s time to step away from the keyboard, it’s a natural reaction.

    data points, Barbara

  6. I was addicted to yahoo chat and orkut for 1-2 years but after I get in to job and got responsibilities on my shoulders there was not time and this I recovered out of the addiction . Just keep your self busy in other things to overcome any kind of addiction

  7. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Sometimes it seems like I spend too much time blogging – and other times – it’s all good. I “try” to balance it all. In fact, I’m just back from a vacation – and a time when I completely (well..almost completely) avoided blogging/social media. And it was good. Good to be disconnected, to step back and question where I’m at and what I’m looking for. Being that I have an active family, this keeps me active too. and that gets me away from the computer – and out to the soccer fields, or to the back yard, or to the park. And this is good for keeping balance in my life.

    These, though, are good thoughts to think about – so they don’t overtake our lives…

  8. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    At one time, I thought I was a bit addicted to blogging and other things that I do (did) online. However, I’ve been having second thoughts about that.

    If it’s truly an addiction, I think there will be some sort of withdrawal symptoms when you are away from it for a while. When we first started traveling, it did bother me a bit when we were unable to access the internet.

    However, I don’t really find that to be a significant issue for me any longer.

    It does get a little frustrating, though, to have a question about something and not be able to “google it” to get an immediate answer.

  9. I definitely spend a LOT of time blogging and I often wonder if it’s taking the place of other addictions that I am trying to overcome. However, I feel like it’s better than drinking so I’m not too worried about it…yet.

    Positively Present┬┤s last blog post..let’s go! 5 steps for getting on the road to your goal

  10. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I’ve been mulling this over in my own life since last month when I was away and didn’t have access for a computer for four days straight.

    At first it was frustrating (how could I live without email), but then it was pleasantly liberating. Since then I’ve been thinking that I may be obsessed with blogging and social media, and I needed to take more time away from it. I don’t think I’m addicted, but it is definitely more than a “hobby” which is what it started out as.

    I’ve made a conscious effort to be off line more since, and realize I truly enjoy real life more than virtual. However, I do miss being in touch with new online friends and will keep in touch with them!

    I am also just beginning to use Facebook to promote my off line mobile notary business, so that may be a good solution for me to blend the two worlds. Thanks for the timely post, Barbara.

    Linda Abbit┬┤s last blog post..Medical Treatment vs. Quality of Life for Our Aging Parents

  11. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Like Dave, the time I spend online I consider work time. It feels far too good to unplug for me to even remotely consider it an addiction.

    Writer Dad┬┤s last blog post..Rolling Through the Rough Draft

  12. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    Woo! Hoo! only 21% addicted. I enjoy “tweeting” but it’s not that big of a deal to me…I can take it or leave it. Now blogging, on the other hand, is a bit more intrusive in my life! In the past, I spent way too much blogging and I did cut back a bit. I am now going to be cutting back more and posting every other day or so.

    But this is all true for me: ” blogging keeping us glued to our blogs hammering out posts, checking for comments, reviewing our statistics, jumping from blog to blog leaving comments, changing our themes.” LOL…I just “tweaked” my theme last week! I finally got all the blogs I read into Google reader…my husband about dropped dead when he saw how many blogs I read…that’s when it really hit me.

    Holy Cow Barbara…I am addicted to blogging! But on a good note, it keeps me out of target and other money draining stores. So I have saved lot’s and lot’s of $$$.

    But I think I may need to start a 12 step program…

    Caroline┬┤s last blog post..Soulful Sunday

  13. I used to worry about becoming addicted, but after more than a year of blogging, I know I’m not. When I get away from the computer for a few days, I feel relief, and I don’t miss it at all.

    Vered – MomGrind┬┤s last blog post..Fear of Rape

  14. You’re right Barbara. We often times do joke about things like this, but for some it’s a serious issue. I’m sure most people are in denial about it, too.

    John Hoff – WpBlogHost┬┤s last blog post..Landing Page Optimization: Make Your Links Stand Out To Get More Clicks

  15. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Internet addiction is plausible. I am not at the addiction level yet, but I can see where folks could get there.

    It is healthier for me to get out into the sun and do something besides reading and typing. My eyes can only take so much!! LOL

    Linda┬┤s last blog post..California KOÔÇÖs Biofuel

  16. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! I am 39% addicted, which seems to be a lot but some of the questions I answered literally honestly but in spirit the truth was different (hey is that justification?)

    Like a few of the others, I do consider my blogging work to be a job, so I don’t consider the long hours I spend at it an addiction. I know to scale back when I am not paying sufficient attention to the kids during the day or completely ignore my husband for days at a time. He knows I’m trying to build something with my blogging and looks at it as a job for me, too but I don’t like to spend all of our kid free time doing this.

    The thing of it is there is always something more we can do – visit one more blog, make one more comment. It doesn’t feel like there is a natural stopping point. I always said I wanted to work for myself because I want that flexibility to set my own hours, now I’m discovering that if I am not vigilant, it can expand to fill all of my hours.

    Tracy┬┤s last blog post..This is how we learned to be writers

  17. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    And I just wanted to say Heck yeah I’d start an online group for internet addicts. It would be awesome! My traffic would be crazy!

    I think it’s horrible I got docked points on the quiz for having an entrepreneurial spirit.

    Tracy┬┤s last blog post..This is how we learned to be writers

  18. I’m very careful about how much time I spend in front of my blog and the blogs of others. For example, I take weekends off and when I’m holiday, I’m on holiday.

    I wouldn’t be much of Someday Mentor if I couldn’t balance my own time, no? ­čśë

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome┬┤s last blog post..Grieving What We CanÔÇÖt Have: WAHM Biz Builder Interview

  19. Mike NicholsNo Gravatar says:

    According to the test, I’m 53% addicted to social media. But like Tracy, I am doing more than simply flitting between FaceBook, Twitter, et. al.

    First, my blog is an important part of my life, not only in realizing what I believe my purpose in life is, but as a business as well. I spend a lot of time with it and with all the activities that go into building readership, such as participating in social media and commenting on blogs. Addiction implies loss of control, and my participation in social media is very purposeful, however enjoyable it is.

    Second, as a disabled person not able to get out as much as the enabled, I rely on social media for initiating and maintaining friendships. The segment of the online population who use social media for this purpose is small, but growing. “Addiction” in this sense is a misnomer. Again, it is a very deliberate substitute for an essential human need for social interaction.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

    Mike Nichols┬┤s last blog post..Surviving the Recession, Part 4: 16 More Things You Can Do to Regain Control

  20. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    At one time I could have become addictive to writing but my blog is a hobby and a relaxation tool for me.My significant other also has provided a balance and insightful wisdom to having a blog.Quality is better then quantity.

    Now for the social stuff.:
    I don’t know of any site that a woman can go- on where she wont be harassed by guy.There always has to be one in the coward.
    I am serious.It doesn’t happen that much on SU but it has.I haven’t been on Facebook or MySpace in years.

    On the other hand you do find very nice men and women with blogs on SU who shares your values and interests from other states and other countries and that is fun.
    I would have to say : no way could I become addicted to blogging

    Bunnygotblog┬┤s last blog post..Life With Mother

  21. PaulubiadasNo Gravatar says:

    I believe that I am not inserting more efforts on blogging.

    Paulubiadas┬┤s last blog post..Act now or Regret later

  22. I have just started blogging. I spend more time reading other blogs because I love reading whether it’s books or blogs or whatever. I’m addicted to reading – just can’t stop.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)┬┤s last blog post..Having a Blog Changes You

  23. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    I should have read over that comment I mean crowd but you know that.LOL

    Bunnygotblog┬┤s last blog post..Life With Mother

  24. NiharNo Gravatar says:

    This is shocking…

    I agree. Now a days lot of guys are getting addicted to social networks also.

    There should be some control on how much time we spend on blogging/games/social networks

    or anything.

    Nihar┬┤s last blog post..Download Kaspersky Anti Virus 2010 Beta 9.0.0.313 & Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 Beta

  25. TechZoomInNo Gravatar says:

    It seems i’m addicted to blogging :)

    TechZoomIn┬┤s last blog post..Plugin To:Customize/Change Your WordPress Login Page!

  26. I love this blog, it’s always full of useful info. Keep up the great work!

  27. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i used to spend a lot of time blogging and social networking. now i don’t. i finally put blogging in it’s place…i don’t stress. i get to it when i get to it….don’t want the spotlight anymore. i enjoy it, but i don’t let it consume me. now i do spend a lot of time online period, i need help with that. seriously.

    Natural┬┤s last blog post..Mirror, Mirror on the BlogÔÇŽ.

  28. Jeannette from BrusselsNo Gravatar says:

    A timely post! I’m not addicted to blogging or facebook or whatever, but I find it interesting that so many of us substitute real-life community and communication for the on-line kind. I read something recently where many women confessed to spending most of their workday chatting or tweeting etc, instead of whatever it is they usually do. Or spend evenings doing it. Addiction or escape?

  29. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    I’m definitely not addicted to Twitter, but blogging? Can you get addicted to a good book? Often times, this is how I think about reading other people’s blogs, little snippets of a much larger book. And the comments are the book discussion that everyone craves after they’ve read a good book.

    As far as writing my own blog could become an addiction. I plan times to go out and visit locations to write about and take pictures. For me, that’s my weekend, when I relax and enjoy. Then writing the post and hopefully engaging others via the comments is fun.

    So, no I don’t think I’m addicted, but it can be a balancing act to make sure everything gets done. However, it’s just like the rest of life, finding the right balance.

    LisaNewton┬┤s last blog post..TravelinÔÇÖ Local visits the City of Brotherly Love

  30. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I’m only 42% addicted to social media.

    The goal is 75%. Follow me @tumblemoose will ya?

    All seriousness aside, I think it is so important to have a balanced life. I love my time on Twitter and I’ve met a lot of great people there.

    I suspect my usage will decrease as our daylight increases up here. Remember, we have two seasons in Alaska: Winter and the 4th of July.

    Cheers!

    George

    Tumblemoose┬┤s last blog post..Tumblemoose Times – A writerÔÇÖs newsletter

  31. Silly GirlNo Gravatar says:

    If I had internet access at home, I would be addicted to blogging. So each day, I go online for about 45 minutes and then that it until the next day. It may not work for others but it works for me. I don’t stress it.

    Silly Girl┬┤s last blog post..Good news

  32. Nope not a chance of becoming addicted to blogging. In fact the longer I go between posts, the less I miss it at all. If it wasn’t such a good calling card for my coaching I probably would be one of those very occasional bloggers. I have more of an aversion to social media if anything. Even connection can be over done.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work┬┤s last blog post..Choose the Right Tool

  33. I used to be an addictions counselor. The no. 1 questions is “Is this causing problems in your life?”

    I studied Internet Marketing from an online well known “guru.” He is very successful, makes millions per year and can prove it. When I met him he wasn’t an addict.

    Today he is even making more millions however he has gained 150 lbs. His girlfriend who used to live with him told me he never leaves the house. He is in his office on his computer. His recording studio and all else he needs for his biz are in his home. Addicted? Heck yes.

    Successful? Only financially.

    If you want to know if you are addicted go to the most important people in your life and ask them what they think. Ask if your blogging or social media is causing problems. I’m sure they’ll tell you.

    Me? Not addicted. Just got back from 10 days away and commented on 2 blogs. Never even checked emails.

    Would I like an online business or to monetize my blog? Yes but not sure what price I’m willing to pay for it.

    Tess The Bold Life┬┤s last blog post..Mondays = 1/7 of Your Life

  34. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina – 32% isn’t bad at all. Like you, some days are busier online for me, too.

    Hi Sunil – Being able to say “no” to blogging or cyberspace is a good indication you’re not addicted.

    Hi David – I agree, the internet is such a great source for things other than blogging.

    That’s a great idea – to keep a photo of yourself on your office door so your wife doesn’t forget what you look like. ­čść

    Hi Ribbon – Very well put, “no life outside of blogging, makes for a very dull blog”. We need to live life so we can then share it.

    Hi Barbara – Great point. Many who are building a business online spend numerous hours on their computers.

    I’m with you regarding pushing ourselves too much. Our brains start to say, “enough”.

    Hi Gagan – Thank you for sharing your story of how you went from being addicted to recovery. Staying busy with other activities appears to be key.

    Hi Lance – Welcome back. It sounds like your vacation gave you a chance to reflect on your online activities, where they’ve taken you, and where you hope to go with them in the future. Unplugging ourselves give us the perfect opportunity to assess our situation.

    Hi Mike – You’re right. True internet addicts do have withdrawal symptoms when they are taken away from it.

    Not being able to Google something would bother me, too.

    Hi Positively Present – Seems like I’ve heard it said we often replace one addiction with another. I guess it’s just a matter of weighing which is worse. :)

    Hi Linda – I like your idea of blending the two worlds – on and offline. By you being a “mobile notary”, you get the best of both. I wish you well.

    Hi Writer Dad – That’s true. For many of us, our online time is “work” time. And I agree, unplugging feels great.

    Hi Caroline – LOL – I almost named this post “Do Bloggers Need A 12 Step Program?”.

    That is a good point. When we blog, we can’t be out spending money, so in that aspect, it’s a money saving hobby.

    Hi Vered – I think that’s how we can tell if we’re addicted to blogging – how we feel when we get away from it.

    Hi John- I never thought of bloggers being in denial, but you’re right as that happens with all addictive behaviors.

    Hi Linda – I hear you. Our eyes often warn us, enough is enough.

    Hi Tracy – I know what you’re saying about using your blog and other online activities to try and build a business. The only way we can do that is to devote a substantial amount of time online and hope in the end it pays off. It’s great to hear your husband is so supportive.

    P.S. Let me know if you start that support group for addicted bloggers. It’s actually a great idea.

    Hi Alex – That’s true. Having balance in YOUR life helps you to teach the same to others.

    Hi Mike – You’re welcome. You’ve raised a great point. For those who may be house bound, the internet is the perfect place to connect with others and build friendships.

    Hi Bunnygotblog – That’s true. Quality outweighs quality in blogging.

    Re: harassment toward women. I haven’t seen too much of that, but I’m not real active on any social media site other than Twitter. It’s sad when one bad egg tries to spoil it for the rest of us.

    Hi Paulubiadas – It sounds like you’ve found a good balance.

    Hi Paisley – I hear you. We can learn so much by reading. Good luck with your new blog. I’ll come by later and check it out.

    Hi Nihar – Yes, it is shocking. As far as control, it’s up to us to set our own limits.

    Hi TechZoomin – Blogging is a great hobby, but hopefully you can find a good balance between it and life.

    Hi Australian – Thank you. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog.

    HI Natural – Fortunately there is now help available for those who do spend too much time online. The book I linked to sounds like a great start.

    Hi Jeannette – You’ve raised a good point. Are the online activities such as chatting and/or tweeting an addiction, escape, or do they truly enjoy it?

    Hi Lisa – That is the key, isn’t it? Find the right balance. With so many of us enjoying blogging and social networking activities, we need to remember we also have a real life to live.

    Hi George – LOL. You’re right. We do meet lots of wonderful people online, and they are ones we would never meet in real life.

    BTW: I don’t remember Alaska being quite THAT bad. The dark winters were a drag, but those long long days in the summer are awesome. :)

    Hi Silly Girl – That’s a perfect way to keep a balance and to not become addicted. Plus, going to the library to gain internet access is a great way to get human interaction, too. It’s a win-win.

    Hi Tom – That’s true. Connections can be overdone, just as anything else. Knowing where to draw the line is key.

  35. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I am 38% addicted. I guess that’s not too bad. While I do spend a lot of time online, not being able to go online for, say, two weeks, would not drive me crazy. I’ve done it on trips before.

    Kelvin Kao┬┤s last blog post..Booked My Very First Voiceover Gig

  36. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Tess – Thank you for sharing that story. With blogging and online activities keeping a lot of people glued to their computers, weight gain and other health concerns do become an issue. With that said, an addiction to blogging and social media becomes a bigger problem than just not being able to “step away”.

  37. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kevin – I hear you. Being away from the internet for an extended period of time and not being about to check in with our online friends or work on our blogs, could be frustrating. However, vacations are a perfect time to take a sabbatical and reflect.

  38. 37% addicted here.

    Have certainly cut down on blogging time because of getting ready for my CD show — spending maybe an hour a day on computer. But truth be told – I’d love to be doing it 2-3 hours a day. And will again when I can!

    It would be cool to have a laptop attached to a stationery bike or treadmill. Blog AND exercise at the same time. I could go for that.

    Jannie Funster┬┤s last blog post..I Need A (Chainsaw) Man, Video

  39. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging and writing are my work and I spend a defined amount of time doing that work. I just spend 2 hours 5 days a week reading and commenting. I do research and I run workshops and do on line counseling as that comes up – It is fun….but I have a spiritual time, family, house, garden, public service, and life – I do not have TIME for an addiction!

    I do think lots of folks do have addictions to the social media world and think that it is life!

    Patricia┬┤s last blog post..Fear Sandwich

  40. Interesting question. I don’t think I blog too much, but sometimes my Husband complains that I spend more time in front of the computer after work than with him!

  41. I wish I could get the addiction! I find my blogs can often go several weeks without any input. Obviously that makes building any readership close to impossible.

  42. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Really good post.

    I try to make sure that when I spend time online, it’s because it’s the next best thing for me to do. I also limit and set boundaries so that I don’t rob from other areas.

    J.D. Meier┬┤s last blog post..Chunk Up Your Phrases for More Effective Writing

  43. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    I got a 40 on the test. I don’t spend much time on social sites though. I spend most of my time, working on my blogs, visiting the blogs of others or in forums, about blogging or saving money.

  44. DaisyNo Gravatar says:

    I did the quiz and I’m afraid I’m just not that into social media. I swear I didn’t lie doing the quiz.. however, I scored 0% addicted. In fact, I don’t even know all the terms.

    Do I see how people could get addicted? Absolutely! Could I see myself getting addicted? Absolutely! So, I choose to turn my head away and ignore most of it altogether. It makes me a bit out of the loop I suppose within certain groups, however, it’s a choice I am comfortable with and I suppose that’s what’s important to me.

    Daisy

    Daisy┬┤s last blog post..Quoting my quote

  45. I am addicted to reading blogs. I love everyone’s unique thoughts. Some time’s it hard to sleep. I can just keep searching the night away.

    cheers,