A resource for objective, useful information
about Internet addiction, a theorized disorder.
Is the Internet Addiction Test valid?
How do you know if you're already addicted or rapidly tumbling toward trouble? Everyone's situation is different, and it's not simply a matter of time spent on-line. Some people indicate they are addicted with only twenty hours of Internet use, while others who spent forty hours on-line insist it is not a problem to them. It's more important to measure the damage your Internet use causes in your life. What conflicts have emerged in family, relationships, work, or school?
Let's find out. Parts of the following guide are contained in my book, Caught in the Net. This is a simple exercise to help you in two ways: (1) If you already know or strongly believe you are addicted to the Internet, this guide will assist you in identifying the areas in your life most impacted by your excessive Net use; and (2) If you're not sure whether you're addicted or not, this will help determine the answer and begin to assess the damage done. Remember when answering, only consider the time you spent on-line for non-academic or non-job related purposes.
To assess your level of addiction, answer the following questions using this scale:
1 = Rarely.
2 = Occasionally.
3 = Frequently.
4 = Often.
5 = Always.
After you've answered all the questions, add the numbers you selected for each response to obtain a final score. The higher your score, the greater your level of addiction and the problems your Internet usage causes. Here's a general scale to help measure your score:
20 - 49 points: You are an average on-line user. You may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but you have control over your usage.
50 -79 points: You are experiencing occasional or frequent problems because of the Internet. You should consider their full impact on your life.
80 - 100 points: Your Internet usage is causing significant problems in your life. You should evaluate the impact of the Internet on your life and address the problems directly caused by your Internet usage.
After you have identified the category that fits your total score, look back at those questions for which your scored a 4 or 5. Did you realize this was a significant problem for you? For example, if you answered 4 (often) to Question #2 regarding your neglect of household chores, were you aware of just how often your dirty laundry piles up or how empty the refrigerator gets?
Say you answered 5 (always) to Question #14 about lost sleep due to late-night log-ins. Have you ever stopped to think about how hard it has become to drag yourself out of bed every morning? Do you feel exhausted at work? Has this pattern begun to take its toll on your body and your overall health?
For immediate help, visit our Virtual Clinic which provides affordable and confidential counseling.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 May 2006
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.