Surfing the Net makes you mentally ill

But you're really in need of help if you're ready to swallow that one

Eleven million people -- six per cent of Internet users -- are addicted to the Net, according to a gaggle of psychologists in the US. People who surf for more than four hours a day are sick and should seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms range from mental disorders to behavioural abnormalities. In extreme cases, they could even get eyestrain and may have to wear corrective prescription glasses. "Marriages are being disrupted, kids are getting into trouble, people are committing illegal acts, people are spending too much money," researcher David Greenfield told US newswires. "As someone who treats patients, I see it," he said. One industry insider who asked not to be named said the whole idea of Net addiction was a load of jumped-up psychobabble twaddle. Elsewhere, an office secretary who was sacked for her own "Net addiction" is seeking damages at an industrial tribunal. The Independent reported that the woman was sacked for spending all day "downloading pornography, searching contact sites and surfing the Internet". The woman, who hasn't been named, claimed the dismissal was in breach of the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995. ®

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