09/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Internet Addiction: How Big Is It?

Internet addiction is upon us... how big is the problem?

Some people are suggesting it is as high as 10% of online users.

News has recently hit the blogosphere of the first internet addiction residential treatment center opening in Washington to address the problem. See video below.

There are some online internet addiction quizzes to help people assess if they have the problem. Though in truth, there are likely millions of us who it may not be accurate to label "addicts," but who often let these technologies run our lives, checking our email and voicemails non-stop through the day, people who feel as if the technologies are using them instead of them using the technologies.

In fact, in one study of 6500 business travelers, 35% said they would choose their PDA's or Blackberry's over their spouses.

My writing has always focused less on how to relinquish these technologies and more how to use them consciously and skillfully. Like all, or at least most, addictions much of it comes from a loss of connection to that place of well-being and belonging inside us, that nothing outside of ourselves can ever fill.

However, since the technologies are likely here to stay for the foreseeable future, the challenge for most of us is to discover how to live mindfully amidst our very connected lives -- and how to use the great technologies of our age creatively rather than habitually.


Soren Gordhamer works with individuals and groups on living with greater mindfulness and purpose in our technology-rich age. He is the author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected (HarperOne, 2009).