In a book written by Kimberly S. Young in 1998, the author defines and explores the internet and addiction in the early days of the net.
“I don’t even help [my children] with their homework in the evening because I’m in the chat rooms, and I don’t help put them to bed because I don’t realize how late it is. I also don’t help them get ready for school in the morning like I used to do because I’m checking my e-mail. And I just can’t stop myself.”-Raymond, an Internet addict.
The author goes on to state that Internet addiction is real. Like alcoholism, drug addiction, or compulsive gambling, it has devastating effects on the lives of addicts and their families: divorce, job loss, falling productivity at work, failure in school, and, in extreme cases, criminal behavior. The problem has already reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and the number of “netaholics” continues to grow rapidly as more households and businesses go on-line. Yet, until now, no one from the mental health community has come forward with a specific description of Internet addiction and its effects or a strategy for treatment and recovery.
In Caught in the Net, Kimberly Young shares the results of her three-year study of Internet abuse. Often using the words of the Internet addicts themselves, she presents the stories of dozens of lives that were shattered by an overwhelming compulsion to surf the Net, play MUD games, or chat with distant and invisible neighbors in the timeless limbo of cyberspace.
Why is the Internet so seductive? What are the warning signs of Internet addiction? Is recovery possible? Dr. Young answers these questions and many more. She provides a questionnaire to help Net users determine whether they are addicts and offers concrete steps to help problem users regulate Internet usage and devise a more balanced place for it in their daily lives.
For Internet addicts as well as their parents, spouses, friends, and employers, Caught in the Net offers guidance on where and how to seek help from counselors, therapists, and other professionals who take this affliction seriously. For mental health professionals, this book provides insights into the nature and causes of Internet addiction and encourages counselors and therapists to expand their addiction recovery programs to address the specific problems of Internet addicts.
“Think that computer addiction is a joke? Think again. This groundbreaking book is the first to explore on-line addiction in a serious way and to consider the effects on individuals and their families. Caught in the Net is an important book for anyone who spends mornings and evenings connected to the Net.”-Clifford Stoll, author of The Cuckoo’s Egg and Silicon Snake Oil.
“An excellent account of the dangers of the burgeoning Internet industry. Dr. Young carefully outlines the traps into which people can fall and offers pragmatic self-help suggestions. Caught in the Net is valuable for both consumers and the professionals who deal with them.”-Maressa Hecht Orzack, Ph.D., Founder and Coordinator, Computer Addiction Services, McLean Hospital Lecturer, Harvard University Medical School
“I don’t mean to spend all my time this way, but I can’t stop. It’s the only place my opinion matters and I feel important.”-bobage38.automechanic.internet.addict
“I feel guilty about it, but when I tried to break free, I simply didn’t have the strength….I’m a long-time smoker, but I’ve found the craving to go on the Internet first thing every morning is stronger than my urge to light a cigarette.”-marylouage40.motheroffour.internet.addict
“When you’re talking about the Internet, you’re talking about power. It’s the most powerful information tool I have ever known. When I explore the on-line world, I feel like that robot in the movie Short Circuit. I need more input! More input!”-daveage28.militarytelecommunicationsexpert.internet.addict
“I feel the rush every time my mind gets connected to this intensely powerful information whirlpool. When I enter cyberspace, I become one with my mind. It’s like Mr. Spock doing the Vulcan mind meld.”-joshage29.computerprogrammer.internet.addict