For the sake of argument, let me rephrase that question: Do I think I'm crazy? (Notice I didn't ask if you think I'm crazy. That would be too easy. I just ask the tough questions.)
Maybe you can help me answer that question. The first thing I do when my feet hit the floor in the morning is head to the bathroom. First thing's first. I let the dogs out, hopefully before they relieve themselves on the carpeting, get the coffee brewing, then head right in here to fire up the computer. I'll grab a cup of coffee and settle in front of the computer. (I won't tell you what I do on the computer; that would take all day.) Sooner or later, nature calls or my coffee cup is empty, whichever comes first, that'll get taken care of, then I'm right back here in front of the computer. Nature/coffee call #2 is when I notice hours have gone by, guilt sets in and I go feed my animals. Then, back inside to my computer, and I always remember to bring another cup of coffee with me.
Just to give you a little perspective, I've had this desk chair for years. It has holes wore in the seat of it. The stuffing is flattened. It has no back support. My butt bones sit on board. But, the wheels still roll, and if I lean back, it reclines. Sort of. Put it this way, I'm not sitting in luxury here.
Sooner or later, some time in the afternoon, it gets too hot, my eyes start drooping and I have some reading to do or not, and I go take a nap. Admittedly, my naps have been getting longer as the summer days get hotter. Ahem. When I get up, I'm right back here in front of the computer, only this time I have iced tea to drink, and the same things happen that happened in the morning. Compute, drink, pee, feed the animals, compute, drink… And here I sit until the wee hours of the next morning. Every day. Without fail.
So, do you think I think I'm crazy? Well, I suppose I am a bit crazy, but it's not because of the time I spend on the Internet. "No" is the correct response, ok? (Just humor me if you would.)
Here, let me help you answer your question: do you think you're crazy?
A good place to start is to define the word "crazy." The dictionary uses fun words like mentally deranged, demented, insane, unpredictable and nonconforming to help you grasp its meaning. None of those fall into any mental illness category. It's all slang. It's not science. No prescriptions required. In fact, "crazy" isn't such a bad thing.
The next thing to look at is "too much time." Many people sit in front of a computer all day at work. Some work from home in front of a computer all day. Those people spend a lot more time in front of the computer than others who's jobs are not computer related. Is it pathological? Would you say the same thing about reading a book or working or watching TV too much?
I have no doubt that some parents become concerned about their kids. (I also have no doubt that some of that concern stems from sitting in front of a video game or violent TV.) This concern is real, as would be the concern you would have about your own time reading, working, watching TV or using the Internet. The real question is whether your time on the Internet is at the cost of family, friends and social activities. Even if you determine that yes, you are neglecting other important aspects of your life, it is not the same as an addiction or any legitimate mental disorder like depression or schizophrenia.
What most people online ... are probably suffering from is the desire to not want to deal with other problems in their lives. Those problems may be a mental disorder (depression, anxiety, etc.), a serious health problem or disability, or a relationship problem. It is no different than turning on the TV so you won't have to talk to your spouse, or going "out with the boys" for a few drinks so you don't have to spend time at home. Nothing is different except the modality. (John M. Grohol, Psy.D)
In essence, the use of the Internet is not the cause of disruptions in your life; it's just the way it manifests. It does not mean that you have a mental illness.
The Internet is a good thing.
The global Internet is interactive, it's a wealth of information, and it includes social activities throughout. Most of the time spent online, and why it seems like it is addictive, is that it revolves around socialization. You hang out with and talk to other people online. I'd say it's even better than hanging out in person or talking on a telephone because of all the information available online that you can tap into to include in your online conversations. Where else can you talk to someone in England, Japan, Manila, Texas and Wyoming without it costing you an arm and a leg for a conference call?
Until voice recognition and VoIP technology becomes useful enough to be commonly used, most everyone has to read and write and think to communicate online. This practice improves spelling and grammar, and construction and articulation of thoughts and ideas. Sure, you'll see a lot of horrific spelling and grammar, and you'll also see it improve over time. Research skills develop, and so does the ability to discriminate between useful and worthless information.
Crazy nerds unite!
Yes we do. And we're all crazy in a good way. It's a good thing, this time we spend on the Internet - because we're spending the time together. For me, it's making it possible to live way out in the middle of nowhere and still talk and hang out with a lot of wonderful people.
Ok, my animals are fed, my iced tea is luke warm, and my eyes are droopy. I'll give you three guesses what I'm going to do next...