An increasing number of retired friends are complaining to me that they are spending too much time in front of the computer screen. They think they have an Internet addiction. They wake up very early each day and go straight to the computer. Some even turn on their smartphone or tablet without getting out of bed (me).
Hours fly by and, before they know it, it’s 10:30 or 11am. They haven’t even started their day. They missed their exercise routines and breakfasts. By the time they shower and shave, it’s noon. They go straight to lunch. They claim there is a whole new time shift. Many admit they love it. It’s the best part of their day.
They spend quiet time reading online newspapers and magazines. The convenience of having it all in one place is still a novelty. They are also spending greater time on Facebook, chatting online with far away friends, playing word games, listening to audio books, music, and podcasts. Some spend countless hours researching discounts on travel and recreation.
Many spouses and friends don’t like it. They are worried about their isolation and addiction to the Internet. Apparently, my friends are not alone. There seems to be a slow growing epidemic among baby boomers.
Treatment facilities are springing up all over the country. A psychiatric hospital in central Pennsylvania has announced that it is the nation’s first facility to offer inpatient treatment. The 10-day program opens on September 9th at the Behavioral Health Services at Bradford Regional Medical Center. It’s $14,000, no insurance. Ouch! Coincidentally, that’s the same day as my 47th anniversary of working. Is someone trying to tell me something?
Dr. Kimberly Young, the psychologist who founded the program, said in an interview on ABC News, “Internet addiction is a problem that can be more pervasive than alcoholism. The Internet is free, legal and fat free.”
The not-for-profit program takes place inside a wing of the hospital designated for other addicts. These patients will undergo a psychological evaluation and learn ways they can minimally use the Internet and avoid problematic applications.
My question is where are the treatment centers for couch potatoes and sports enthusiasts who spend weekends in front of the television set? I like my Internet addiction. It keeps me balanced and informed. What about you?