Internet Addiction

Q.  What is Internet addiction and how can I spot whether Internet addiction is affecting productivity?  How would you hold an employee accountable if you can’t “diagnose” the worker?  It seems like a catch-22 to me.

A.  “Internet addiction” is commonly discussed in the media and online, but it is not an official medical diagnosis yet because words like “addiction” (and “disorder”) are reserved for accepted medical conditions.  Internet addiction also describes many compulsive uses of technology.  The preferred term is “compulsive Internet use.”  Other forms of compulsive use of technology include social media use, such as checking Facebook, gambling, gaming, pornography, shopping, and financial trading.  Any of these may negatively impact workplace and personal productivity.  Beyond electronic discovery of usage, assignments not delivered on time may be a potential key indicator of compulsive Internet use.  Lying about use of time on the job or lying about using the Internet for important business purposes is also common when someone is affected by this.  To document productivity issues, assign measurable goals to your employee, such as a certain number of “widgets” or tasks that must be completed on time, weekly.

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