Addicted to the Internet

The following quote appeared in an article in todays Sydney Morning Herald on Schools, parents to get talking about chatrooms

Last year, a Flinders University study of 114 teenage students found that on average, they spent 13 hours a week online, and one-third were ?in the process of becoming psychologically addicted? to the internet.

The study seems to be authored by Dr Mubarak Ali but the Google link to the Flinders site isn?t working at the moment, so I can?t verify if that pull quote is an accurate summary of his findings. I?d like to give him the benefit of the doubt as smart people rarely say such stupid things.

I wonder if proto-sociologists found a similar percentage of kids were becoming psychologically addicted to writing, reading or hanging out? The Internet is a technology as well as a destination. Kids can spend just chatting in person, on the phone and now online in chatrooms and instant messages. Why does participating in such a developmentally normal behaviour create concern?

Someone compared the net to reading newspapers, magazines or novels. We don?t start panicking that our kids are reading too much.