May 12, 2011, 3:58 PM — It's easy to take warnings about Internet addiction far too seriously.
No matter how direct the comparison seems, physical dependence on something like heroin or alcohol or even nicotine is much more serious and difficult to break than "addictions" to sex, food, video games, shopping, or whatever.
Those things are (sometimes destructive) activities we use to distract us from our own fears, not physical dependencies.
That's what I tell myself when the cable's been out for a couple of hours and the tremors and cramps start to get bad, anyway.
Android and iPhone users are a whole different breed, though.
A survey conducted by smartphone-market-wannabeEricsson showed 35 percent of Android and iPhone users in the U.S. start using apps on their phones before they even get out of bed in the morning.
Eighteen percent log in to Facebook while they're still lolling about (not LOLing, I assume, but you never know).
That's a major red-flag for addictive behavior, which kneejerks one into thinking smartphones must be addictive.
Addictive behavior is a form of escape. Addicts use it to create distance between them and other people or situations.
Facebook (is it really more addictive than sex?) and most of the social-networking and informational apps these people are using, are the opposite. They're designed to help you connect with other people, or to find out about what's going on in the world.
So is it a sign of addiction that you launch Facebook or an RSS reader or your email client before you get out of bed, so you can check what's going on with your friends, your political environment, or the traffic on the way to work?
Or is it a sign that you simply use a different medium than the one other people expect to get that information.
Is it an addiction to turn on A.M. talk radio news, or the Morning Zoo, or NPR first thing in the morning?
What if you use it as your clock-radio alarm and it just goes on without your necessarily wanting it? Is that an addiction?
What about watching TV news over your bagel and coffee?