A Hong Kong medical research study shows that about one million people in Hong Kong are addicted to at least one of the following: smoking, drinking, gambling, Net surfing, shopping and making love. with 700,000 smokers and 200,000 drinkers, treatment of the health problems related to smoking and drinking alone has accounted for 8% of the medical resources.
Addiction is characterised by the loss of self control towards a certain substance or behaviour, to the extent that one can only be satisfied by consuming or doing more and more. One also has a feeling of craving when not having the chance to consume or do it.
I am conscious that Net surfing is on the list. It is very much my daily habit. It is a fine line between a habit and an addiction. Habits, not to say addictions, are very powerful and difficult to cut out once formed. There are good and bad habits, of course, and how one classifies Net surfing depends very much on what your purposes of going online are. But the bottom line is that it is never a wise thing to do to have too much of anything, so the research study should serve a a good reminder.
I like the caption of a cartoon in which two people are having a conversation and one is telling the other: "Yeah, the internet's full of information, but after a day broadening my superficial knowledge of casual interests, who has the time to think?"