The Way We Live Now

It’s Not Your Fault You’re Addicted to the Internet–Blame Your Genes

We'd always suspected the World Wide Web of having narcotic properties.
screen shot 2012 08 29 at 6 43 06 pm Its Not Your Fault Youre Addicted to the Internet  Blame Your Genes

Sure you are. (Photo: xkcd)

Sometimes, it feels like the Internet is one big, never-ending challenge to one’s powers of self-control. Sure, you could sleep… or you could watch two hours of Say Yes to the Dress on Netflix. (Theoretically, of course.) Cleaning out your closet is one option… and this slideshow of “20 Dogs Who Don’t Want the Summer to End” is another.

But if ever you find yourself unable to disconnect for an entire day, perhaps you can take some solace from this report, which says that yes, Internet addiction is a real thing and, what’s more, it’s rooted in your genes. It is, therefore, not your fault that you can’t ignore your FarmVille game for more than a day without getting itchy palms.

CNET says:

Researchers from the school’s departments of psychology and neuroscience report in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine that a simple variation on the CHRNA4 gene results in a significantly higher prevalence of Internet addiction — and particularly in women.

According to the author of the study:

“The current data already shows that there are clear indications for genetic causes of Internet addiction… If such connections are better understood, this will also result in important indications for better therapies.”

Of 843 people interviewed by researchers, an alarming 132 of them demonstrated behavior like “all their thoughts revolve around the Internet during the day, and they feel their well-being is severely impacted if they have to go without it.”

When E.M. Forster said “only connect,” this is not what he meant.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com