Excessive Work Linked to Compulsive Internet Use

line of people working on computersFor many people, the Internet has become such a normal part of everyday life that checking email, engaging with people via social media profiles, watching YouTube videos, and streaming all types of content are second nature. Several jobs exist entirely in the digital world, and so much of our day-to-day business can now be conducted solely online—banking, bill paying, business transactions, and higher education being among the plethora of options available to people.

With so much time spent in front of a screen—whether on a computer, phone, iPad, or some other Internet-capable contraption—it seems that people would crave time away from technology. Instead, researchers have found that a large number of people feel compulsively drawn to the Internet in spite of the feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety their excessive use produces.

The researchers, Dr. Cristina Quinones-Garcia of Northampton Business School and Professor Nada Korac-Kakabadse of Henley Business School, gathered data from over 500 males and females between the ages of 18 and 65 to assess the effects of compulsive Internet use. Some of the participants were employed, while others were not, and they all completed questionnaires designed to evaluate their time spent on the Internet, emotional stability, work habits, and overall satisfaction with their jobs and life in general.

Over 60% of the respondents admitted to compulsive Internet use and drew a connection between this behavior and working excessively, regardless of how emotionally stable they felt. For the participants experiencing compulsive Internet tendencies, “measurable withdrawal symptoms” such as isolation, depression, and anxiety were also reported when not engaging online. And while those who were unemployed found themselves on the Internet more often than those who were employed, they expressed a less addictive relationship with the Internet.

The findings suggest that compulsively spending time online is detrimental to a person’s well-being, and excessive amounts of job-related work requiring the use of the Internet may contribute to this widely shared issue.

British Psychological Society (2014, January 8). Compulsive use of the Internet linked to excessive work. Retrieved from http://www.bps.org.uk/news/pressure-work-may-be-leading-internet-addiction

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  • Joel M

    January 9th, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    How odd. I am overworked and when I get away, I want to get away. That means turn the computer off and the phone on silent. Who are these people? I guess that going online could be their means of escape? Not for me/.

  • Aiden

    May 18th, 2020 at 4:15 PM

    no one actually asked Joel

  • gray

    January 10th, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Sadly my husband is one of these men. He works constantly and yet when he comes home all he wants to do is stare at the computer screen for even more hours on end. I thought that it could just be his own little release but it has gotten more and more ad now it is almost to the point of being a compulsion. I am afraid that our marriage and home life is really going to start to suffer because of his online activity but he sees nothing wrong with it, and says that this is just his way of unwinding just like someone else may read or watch tv. But he won’t even talk when he is in front of the computer, totally tunes us out and it’s like he doesn’t care that we are even around.

  • graham

    January 11th, 2014 at 5:08 AM

    Please let me win a vaction to the tropics instead, with no computer or internet connection included!

  • Jocelyn

    January 13th, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Maybe this is all a case of just continuing to do what you know and for those who have to work all the time, more time on the computer is simply what they have come to think about themselves. Their strengths are always shown through this venue and something that they are good at so they want to extend this into their downtime as well. I could be reaching here, who knows, but maybe it’s an explanation for some people and their need to always be connected in this way.

  • Paige

    January 15th, 2014 at 4:04 AM

    It’s because there are so many great things online to look at on your own time that you don’t get to look at at work all day! So all day long when I am working so hard I am also thinking about the sites I want to be able to visit later on, so the list is a constant running commentary in my head that never ends!

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