When the internet takes hold

By Sonya Bateson


Spending too much time on the internet is making some Tauranga people feel guilty.

A survey of broadband accountholders by Canstar Blue found more than a quarter of respondents often felt guilty about the amount of time they spent online and 10 per cent felt their relationships had been impacted by the amount of time they spent on the internet.

Tauranga IT man Jonny Bloore from iFix Computers said he was always being growled at by his wife and daughter for spending too much time on his iPhone.

"IT is my job. When I get an email on my phone in the middle of the night, I'll wake up and check it. I'll even hear it when it's on vibrate. I've got RSI [repetitive strain injury] from too much texting, I own four computers, an iPad and an iPhone. I have two computers at home. It's how I do my job."

Mr Bloore said he was addicted to his iPhone and often experienced "phantom vibration syndrome", thinking his phone was vibrating in his pocket even when it was on a desk in front of him.

"It's not making my relationships suffer, but my wife and daughter probably wouldn't agree.

"Yes, the internet does have a hold on my life because it's my job. Yes, I get withdrawal if I haven't checked it. I'm starting to feel guilty about my internet use because of all the growlings I get from my family."

Craig Computers owner Mike Craig said he had also experienced internet guilt after spending a lot of time doing internet gaming.

"A few years back, I had a friend who I used to play games with every night, sometimes for hours. It's a bit destructive to the family. What happens is sometimes people can't control it or don't know when to stop, which can lead to problems. It made me feel guilty because I wasn't spending that time with my family. I've got kids growing up and I want to be spending that time with them."

Mr Craig said some people had to spend a lot of time on the internet for work, but even then it was important to know one's boundaries.

"If you're on your own, you don't feel guilty. I think it's those who have girlfriends and families. It's pretty common, although teenagers don't feel guilty - it's their social life."

He said he had come across several people who were addicted to particular sites or applications, such as people who were hooked on Facebook.

"People get hooked on the internet because they get interested in it and get a bit carried away. I find a lot of people get hooked to a particular thing like Facebook and can't live without it. It becomes their communication with the outside world."

Canstar Blue New Zealand general manager Derek Bonnar said with internet use on the rise, the survey of broadband accountholders looked at how spending time online was impacting on the offline lives of respondents and whether people felt guilty about the amount of time spent online.

"The majority seem able to manage the time they spend online but 10 per cent say their relationships are impacted by the amount of time spent online.

"Those from the Waikato, Generation Ys and men were most likely to fall into this category.

"Just over a quarter of all respondents say they often feel guilty about the amount of time they spend online, but aren't motivated to do anything about it.

"Forty-four per cent of Generation Ys have pangs of guilt about online use, compared with just 21 per cent of Baby Boomers."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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