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Addiction to the. Interwebotronicsuperinfospacewayhypernet. Internet. History of the Internet.

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History of the Internet

1962 – The first modem was invented by AT&T it had a baud rate of 300 bits per second (a bit is the most basic information unit, the 1s or 0s. There are roughly 1000 bits to a KB, 1000 KB to an MB, 1000 MB to a GB).

1966 – ARPANET the first large scale network created by Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to communicate research quickly, efficiently and securely (the idea of computer hackers had not been invented yet).

Meanwhile other applications of computer networking were being developed across the world for a variety of purposes from commercial to defense to research to academic. Eventually a standardized protocols and systems of network communications were developed.

1971 – E-mail invented

1979 – The first Bulletin Board System or “Message Board” became publicly available.

1981 – Xerox pioneers the first Graphical User Interface (GUI), precursor to Mac and Windows.

1982 – The first computer virus, Elk Cloner, is written by a 15 year old from PA.

1984 – Domain name systems (i.e. .com, .ca, .org, etc.) were created.

1990 – The term “World Wide Web” was coined.

1993 – The first Web browser was developed by Mosaic, evolved into MS IE in 1995.

1996 – The 56K modem was invented. Roughly 187x faster than the first modem.

1996 – Estimated 45 million internet users…

2007 – 1.3 billion users worldwide.

During this time, internet connections have become faster (broadband ranges from 768kb – 400mb/s), able to transfer more information at a time such as streaming audio and video, and has been incorporated into cell phones, cars, etc. making it’s presence ubiquitous.


Several Videos Explaining the Internet and its history

“Any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other.”

-Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari


Signs of Internet Addiction

from http://netaddiction.com1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use? 5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?


Other Symptoms Include:• Failed attempts to control behavior• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities• Neglecting friends and family• Neglecting sleep to stay online• Being dishonest with others• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome • Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities


What does the Internet mean to you?

Knowledge/ Research



Privacy/ Anonymity



News/ Politics



Self Expression




The Internet as a Medium,

Or Delivery System

I think that much of what is called ‘Internet Addiction Disorder’ is in fact either another behavioural addiction or psychological disorder manifesting itself through internet usage. As an analogy, we generally think of people being addicted to heroin or morphine but not so much as being addicted to needles. Similarly, it is easier, in my opinion, to view people as addicted to gambling or sex rather than addicted to the Internet as a reified monolithic entity. Therefore it is important to discover what role the internet plays and what needs/desires it fills in the lives of clients.

"It seems misleading to characterize behaviors as 'addictions' on the basis that people say they do too much of them," says Sara Kiesler, PhD, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University and co-author of one of the only controlled studies on Internet usage, published in the September 1998 American Psychologist. "No research has yet established that there is a disorder of Internet addiction that is separable from problems such as loneliness or problem gambling."

- DeAngelis, T. (2000) Is Internet addiction real? Monitor on Psychology, 31(4). Retrieved from


The Medium is the Message

Though the internet itself may only be a medium through which addictions can be manifested, that medium acts in several key ways to influence addictive behaviour. These factors should be taken into account when working with someone who uses the internet to gratify their addictions.

1. Ease of access. Everything we desire is at our fingertips, and the Internet is so ubiquitous today that we can use it from nearly anywhere through cell phones, laptops, etc. Secondly, the internet provides us with a sense of anonymity which removes social barriers to engaging in socially questionable behaviour. For example, I may be embarrassed about visiting a strip club or sex shop in person, but in the privacy of my own home, I may have no problem looking at pornography or purchasing sexual toys from a website.


The Medium is the Message

2. Normalization. Let’s face it, the internet is a filthy and disgusting place. The fact is, that with the ease of access and the prevalence of things like pornography (not just the Playboy kind, but sites devoted to beastiality and incest, etc) and gambling sites, it makes it seem that behaviours which are socially questionable are more acceptable and prevalent in our society than they actually are. This allows the addict to deny or downplay the severity of his/her issues.

3. Exposure to fraud. While not a direct effect of internet addiction, a serious side effect is the potential for fraud, ie. To become infected by a computer virus, to have your computer hacked into, to have your identity stolen, and so on. Returning to our heroin analogy, while heroin use itself does not cause HIV, the use of shared needles increases the potential for infection. A second analogy might be made to sexually addicted behaviour, in which safe, protected sex is a secondary concern to the gratification of urges. “Addicted” Internet users may ignore risks and safe internet practices to protect privacy and personal information.


The Medium is the Message

4. Projection of a False, or Idealized Self. Since the Internet is a virtual space it allows us (some would say necessarily causes us) to project a distorted version of ourselves into it. The term ‘Avatar’ is generally used to describe the identity we present to others online.








Dates in the last year:

Spent last weekend:

Marvin Pinkerton


Undergraduate majoring in Canadian History

Doctorate in Physical Engineering

Entrepreneur and volunteer firefighter/ model

Janitor at a local bowling alley

My mom thinks I’m cool… She says she does…

I think I’m a little too awesome. People love me.

Have you ever seen someone try to slit their

Wrists with their own paycheque?

I don’t worry about money.

The condo in New York, or the mansion in France?

I have my own pad… in my parents basement

I like to switch it up betweeen the Harley, and the Jag.


What qualifies as a “date”?

I can’t even keep track.

I trained to be a pilot, then hit the club with my friends, then we got invited to Hugh Hefner’s private playboy island, and chilled there all weekend.

Trying to get a perfect quest in Final Fantasy XII on the PS3.


Dissociative Disorders

One of the biggest dangers of heavy internet use is its potential for creating or exacerbating (cause and effect are uncertain) dissociative disorders. One creates a fantasy self to project to the world through chat rooms, blogs, online games etc., and then one begins to become invested and identify more and more with that virtual self, sometimes at the expense of the real world self. Borders and boundaries between the real and virtual become blurred, and identity becomes confused.

Positive Uses in Therapy

Along with the debates about the validity of Internet addiction disorder, there are also disagreements in the psychiatric community about the therapeutic benefits of the internet. Many of the same aspects that may lead to or increase addictive or socially questionable behaviour, such as the Dissociative effects, the normalization and the anonymity, may also have beneficial effects when used correctly. For instance, many recovering addicts may choose to form virtual support communities in chat rooms and other virtual spaces. Those who are suffering from severe personality disorders may find it easier to seek help under the cover of the internet. The dissociative effects associated with using an avatar may help a person reframe their distorted and already unhealthy perceptions reality, or overcome feelings of guilt and inadequacy in a relatively secure environment.



DeAngelis, T. (2000). Is Internet addiction real? Monitor on Psychology, 31(4). Retrieved from

Shapira, N.A. et al. (2003). Problematic Internet use: Proposed classificiation and diagnostic criteria. Depression and Anxiety 17, 207-216. DOI 10.1002/da.10094

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