This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Can you really be addicted to the internet?

Chinese scientists have observed differences in the brains of people who obsessively use the internet similar to those found in people who have substance addictions. Is this proof that the internet can be addictive?


Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Several reports today suggest that a study of the brains of people who excessively use the internet show abnormalities similar to those found in people with substance addictions could be proof that the internet has similar addictive qualities to drugs, alcohol or tobacco. The Independent's report here is the most extensive. It says:

Internet addiction has for the first time been linked with changes in the brain similar to those seen in people addicted to alcohol, cocaine and cannabis. In a groundbreaking study, researchers used MRI scanners to reveal abnormalities in the brains of adolescents who spent many hours on the internet, to the detriment of their social and personal lives. The finding could throw light on other behavioural problems and lead to the development of new approaches to treatment, researchers said. An estimated 5 to 10 per cent of internet users are thought to be addicted – meaning they are unable to control their use. The majority are games players who become so absorbed in the activity they go without food or drink for long periods and their education, work and relationships suffer.

But is there really such a thing as internet addiction?
Read more

TAGGED: BEHAVIOR, TECHNOLOGY


RELATED CONTENT

Rats Manipulated to be Attracted to Cats

Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net Comments

Rats Manipulated to be Attracted to Cats

R. Elisabeth Cornwell at TAM 2012 -...

- - TAM 2012 - JREF Comments

R. Elisabeth Cornwell at TAM 2012 - Social Networks: Civilizing the Future

Grey parrots use reasoning where...

- - The Royal Society Comments

Research suggesting that grey parrots can reason about cause and effect from audio cues alone- a skill that monkeys and dogs lack- is presented in Proceedings of the Royal Society B today.

Modern culture emerged in Africa 20,000...

Thomas H. Maugh II - LA Times Comments

Modern culture emerged in southern Africa at least 44,000 years ago, more than 20,000 years earlier than anthropologists had previously believed

The Wisdom of Not Being Too Rational

Michael Balter - Science Comments

Studies to examine how children learn tasks that are not obvious and can even be counterintuitive.

Gorilla Youngsters Seen Dismantling...

Ker Than - National Geographic News Comments

After a poacher's snare had killed one of their own, two young mountain gorillas worked together Tuesday to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home

MORE

MORE BY POLLY CURTIS

Scientists win place for evolution in...

Polly Curtis - guardian.co.uk 39 Comments

Faith schools free to preach against...

Polly Curtis - The Guardian 58 Comments

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment