Ten Symptoms of Computer Addiction (by James Fearing, Ph.D.)
* A demonstrated “loss of control” when trying to stop or limit the amount of time on the computer. (Breaking promises to self or others. Promising to quit or cut down and not being able to do so)
* Being dishonest or minimizing the extent of the time you stay on the computer, or covering up or being dishonest about what activities you participate in when on the computer.
* Negative consequences experienced by the computer user or his/her friends or family as a direct result of time or activities spent on the computer.
* Participation in high risk or normally unacceptable behaviors when using the computer. Compromising your morals and values based on the opportunity to remain anonymous and protected on the computer. (a good test for this is to ask yourself if your spouse, partner or family would approve of what you were doing on the computer)
* An overdeveloped sense of importance for the computer in ones life. Defending your right to use the computer as much as desired, regardless of the fact that people in your life are feeling left out and neglected. (denial of the problem and justification; not being able to hear or feel what the other people are saying regarding your computer behavior)
* Mixed feelings of euphoria (a “rush”), combined with feelings of guilt brought on by either the inordinate amount of time spent on the computer or the abnormal behavior acted out while using the computer.
* Feelings of depression or anxiety when something or someone shortens your time or interrupts your plans to use the computer.
* Preoccupation with the computer and computer activities when you are not using the computer (thinking about the computer and its activities when doing something else; i.e. having a family dinner, working on project deadline etc.)
* Finding yourself using the computer at times when you are feeling uncomfortable, irritated, or sad about something happening in your life. ( feeling uncomfortable in your relationship, so you will self medicate and “hide out” on the computer) Using time on the computer to become externally focused outside yourself as a way to avoid facing what is happening in your life, and avoiding feeling the appropriate feelings inside yourself. (self medicating)
* Experiencing financial concerns or problems in your life as a result of money being spent on computer hardware, computer on-line charges, or any other costs associated with computers. (Spending money on computer related items which should have been allocated to other normal living expenses)
If you said yes to one question you may have a problem with computer addiction. If you said yes to two questions, there is a good chance you do have a problem with computer addiction. If you answered yes to three or more, you are demonstrating a pattern of behavior which would suggest that you are addicted to your computer and/or the activities on it.
This questionaire was developed by James Fearing, Ph.D., at the National Counseling Center in Minneapolis, MN.