Internet Addiction

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Can you walk by a computer without logging on to the Internet?

Or how about going on vacation and not checking your online accounts at all?

"I could, but it would hurt. I would always at least have to check my email or something, but it'd be tough", says WKU student Andrew McCloud.

There are an estimated 85 million people online in the United States alone. Five million of those people say they are addicted to the Internet.

"My friend, she stays on there at least 12 hours a day, so I mean it's addictive", says WKU student Ciera Metcalf.

Addictive, but convenient. Many people use the Internet to pay bills, plan trips, keep in touch with friends, or even run a business.

"That's how people contact me from different states to do some work for them", says Bowling Green Resident Walter Norris.

Those that deal with computers on an everyday basis say they definitely see the online addiction.

"Young and old alike, they have to have it", says Access Kentucky President, Jonathan Baldwin.

Baldwin’s company does a variety of jobs, such as repairing computers and providing Internet services.

He says when people don't have access to their Internet they get irritated.

"Seriously, at times I feel like their power could be out and it wouldn't matter as much as the fact their Internet is out", says Baldwin.

Baldwin says he too has caught himself falling victim to the online addiction. "If I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I check my email and I know other people that do that too and it's not right", he says.

But, he says it's just because the Internet has created a strong sense of instant gratification.

"We thought computers when they came along were gonna’ make our lives easier and they make it more efficient, but we started expecting more and more of ourselves and expecting it quicker", says Baldwin.

The Center for Online Addiction says studies conducted over the past few years show that Internet addiction can lead to social isolation, increased depression, job loss, academic failure, or even divorce.

For more on a 12-step program for Internet Addiction, you can log onto the following website: