14% of you should stop reading this right now

Ransom Riggs

Uh-oh. According to a just-completed study from researchers at Stanford's School of Medicine, one in eight people show signs of "problematic internet use." (The fact that upon learning this I immediately thought, "That would be a good blog" is probably a sign that I am among the eight. Crap.) Results from the telephone-based survey of more than 2,000 people found that:

  • 13.7 percent 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

Based on the research, the average internet addict was a college-educated white male (guilty) in his 30s (not quite) who logged about 30 hours of nonessential internet use per week (define "nonessential") and visited pornography and gambling sites as well as chat rooms and shopping sites (uh "¦ no comment). But here's the best part: "the research showed similarities between alcoholism and internet addiction in that users often hide their web surfing and use it to self-medicate." Hmm, I'll bet there's a support group out there somewhere for recovering internet addicts. Wonder if they've got a website "¦