Monday, October 12, 2009

Internet Addiction

“We are becoming the servants in thought, as in action, of the machine we have created to serve us.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

All the writers I meet seem to spend a lot of time on the internet. I am no exception. Between researching, emailing, visiting other blogs and socializing on Facebook or Twitter, the hours of the day zoom by. Many times I admonish myself in hopes that I’ll get up and do something a bit more productive such as grocery shopping, housework or actually working on a manuscript. I, however, am quite adept at ignoring my own warnings.

I bring this up because next week I am taking a trip and leaving my computer behind. Since I do not have an iPhone or some other way of accessing the internet, I will be going cold turkey. The closer the date looms, the more often I find myself breaking out in a cold sweat wondering if I can do it.

Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is serious problem for many people. Marriages have been destroyed by it and people have lost their jobs over it. There is an in-depth site call that’s dedicated to helping those with major internet issues. On this site there’s a test to help determine whether or not you have a problem. I took the test. My results show that though I may sometimes spend a little too much time on the internet, I’m actually an average online user and have control over my usage. Whew!

That means I can go ahead with my trip instead of checking myself into the Internet Addiction Center that recently opened near Seattle. There’s an interesting article on which talks about ReStart. ReStart claims to be the first such center in America. It is suitably located near the Redmond headquarters of Microsoft. Open since July, their 45-day, $14,000.00 program is intended to help people wean themselves from pathological computer use, including obsessive use of video games, texting, Facebook, eBay, Twitter and other time-killers. (I can’t help but wonder if the price tag is a big part of the cure—like a type of shock treatment.)

So on Wednesday I’ll leave this 90 degree sunny paradise I call home to travel to Traverse City, Michigan. I’m cold just thinking about it. However, it should be fun. It’s a reunion with a group of ladies I played Mah Jongg with when I lived in Illinois. That was over five years ago so we have a lot of catching up to do.

However, I will be taking time out on Friday, October 16 to do a book signing at Horizon Books at 243 E. Front Street, Traverse City from 3 to 5 PM. I hope if any of you are in the area, you’ll stop by. Or, if you know someone in the area, I’d appreciate you passing the word along.

On Thursday (Oct. 15), guest blogger Jay Luke will be stopping by to discuss the topic of writing about history. He is the author of When Coal Was Queen: The History of the Queen City - Olyphant, Pennsylvania. Jay is a multi-talented painter, musician and writer. As a project engineer of the Olyphant Coal Miner Memorial Association, he has delved deeply into the origins of the area and the forgotten histories of the towns around him. I hope you’ll make plans to visit.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Galbraith, internet addiction, IAD, ReStart, Horizon Books, Traverse City, Mah Jongg,
Jay Luke,


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Jane! A whole week without internet. Makes me feel shaky. I'll be interested in hearing how it goes when you get back. I haven't gone that long in...well, probably 10 years. Hmm. Maybe I should take your test.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen Walker said...

I took my brand new netbook to Europe with me. I did it so I wouldn't be inundated with emails when I got home. Looking back, I could have left it home. There was no time for internet trolling, too many things to see and do. I think it will be good for you to disconnect. I came back jetlagged, but filled with a different energy.

IAD Marv said...

I definitely have a serious case of IAD. I'd go thru withdrawals a whole week without so much as at least one wifi session each day. It'll come to a head next spring when the wife and I are going rustic camping - no electricity, let alone internet. Gah - I'll be face to face with my demons!

The Old Silly

Anonymous said...

For a time my wife thought I had an online relationship with a girl because I was on the computer so much. It took her a while to understand how much work goes into a developing and maintaining a blog, as well as visiting other bloggers and leaving comments.

I have to balance family life with blogging and be sensitive to the needs of those who depend on me for time and support.

Stephen Tremp

Helen Ginger said...

Have fun. Take a coat, maybe some longjohns.

I do think I've become just a bit addicted to the Internet. I know when I was in Minnesota and could get only sporadic service, it drove me nuts, but don't think I'll pay $14,000 to be weaned off.

Have fun!

Straight From Hel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You will be fine!
My recent excursions (8000 miles in two weeks) left me with little Internet contact, although we had the lappy and I checked my email. But I found I could survive without it. And it showed me areas where I was wasting my time...
Enjoy your trip and knock 'em dead at the signings!

Tamika: said...

Wow- I never knew there was such an addiction. Even though I commented to my sister that blogging is extremely addicting. I love it!

Enjoy the time away.

Blessings to you...

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I admire your fortitude. I have to be online if only to answer questions from people who have bought my mystery games. I'll be interested in hearing how it went for you.


Carol Kilgore said...

I've gone without internet for periods of time. The most recent was this past January and we inadvertently packed both desktops and our shared laptop. How stupid was that?

About once a week over the four-ish weeks, I had access for maybe an hour at a time. I survived just fine, and so did my blog. You will, too.

Bundle up. Coming from your tropical paradise, you'll feel all that cold that Michigan has in store.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

First, wishing you a happy, fun, and safe trip, Jane. Secondly this videio game additicition is the real deal. I know a guy who lost his job because he’d call in sick, stay home, and play…he just had to. Eventually, he started coming in late, then, just didn’t show at all. Sad thing. Not sure what his status is now. Not see him in better than a year.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Sorry about my post...pushed submit by accident, didn't get to edit. Yuk. Galen.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Elizabeth - I guess I did make it sound like I would be away a whole week - actually it will only be 4 whole days but I am sure it will seem like a month!

Karen - good to have you back. I'm looking forward to hearing all about your trip.

Can't wait for the blog you do about your rustic camping trip Marvin! I hope you survive.

Stephen - finding that balance is very difficult. I tend to say to myself - I'll read just one more blog which leads to another and another and so on.

Helen, I am a bit worried about the cold. It's been warmer than normal here for this time of year. I could become a human snowman...I mean woman.

Thanks, Diane. If you can survive without it, maybe there is hope for me.

Tamika - it surprised me, too. I read that in Japan, they take it quite seriously and for a while treated it with shock treatments!

Elspeth - I'll let you know if I survive!

Galen - I've heard stories like that. What a sad thing. I hope he got some help. I did read one article that said someone died from video addiction because they wouldn't leave the game long enough to eat or drink properly. Sorry, I don't know how to add that preview/editing option some blogs have.

Joanne said...

Have a wonderful trip, sounds like lots of fun! P.S. You could always scoot into a local library and sneak a peek on one of their computers ;)

Morgan Mandel said...

Catching a bad cold really helps with Internet addiction. I was too busy being tired and wanting to sleep to think about turning on the computer. Now my cold is gone and it's a different story!
The problem is there's not enough time in the day to visit all the friends I've made online and still get everything else done, like my day job for instance. It's still fun trying.

Morgan Mandel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Joanne, that's a brilliant idea I hadn't thought of – thanks.

Morgan, nothing like nature reminding you to slow down! I agree - there isn't enough time in the day to visit all the sites I'd like to each day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,
This is a fascinating post. I'll definitely look up the sites you mention and take the test for internet addiction.

This weekend I'll be away at a UU conference with my husband, and I won't have Internet access unless I use his laptop. But next week I'm treating myself to a new Mac laptop! (I need to update my technique, including learning Skype, before the Poisoned Pen Web Con.)

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

Enid Wilson said...

I definitely have IAD, spend endless hours on the internet, day and night. Is there any cure?

Steamy Darcy

Alexis Grant said...

Good for you! I really loved taking a break from the Internet during my five-week writer's retreat in September. Having to walk a half mile through the woods to check my e-mail really made me think twice about when I should be playing online and when I should be working. I got so much more done! Hope you enjoy your break, too.

Ban The Internet said...

Dear Jane -

Thank you so much for raising the Profile of The Peril of internet Addiction. It is so Important not to trivialize it. But online tests and addiction Clinics are not a solution.

There can only be one real Solution - an all-out ban on this pernicious creeping influence on our lives. Legislate against internet technology in all its forms, dismantle It's infrastructure, and replace it's role in our lives with Healthy and Traditional Activities.

Please Jane can you and your Readers add your Valued Voices to the global campaign to Ban The Internet at

Thank you!

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world