Sunday it was reported that a facility has opened to treat "Internet addiction."
Whatever people go online to do—gaming, gambling, porn, Facebooking, blog reading, Twittering—they do because being online is easier than being alive.
You feel lonely downstairs and you go upstairs to your computer because, "Maybe there's an e-mail from someone." (Henry David Thoreau said a man who frequently checks his mail hasn't heard from himself in a long time.)
Life seems finite and the Internet doesn't. You have four friends you'd call just to shoot the shit, but you have 200 in Facebook who will shoot the shit at you.
You're dead in the water professionally but your LinkedIn network is robust!
You can have the best idea in the world at the tavern, but no matter who you tell it to, there's no chance it can go viral. (Whereas, on the Internet, there's a one in a million chance.)
You're at odds with your family—who's gonna fold the laundry and who's gonna empty the dishwasher? and why in God's name does she need "water shoes" to run in the fucking sprinkler?—but those Facebook friends are always posting funny photos of them walking on fire or cheerful missives: "Just heard from Madison that her first day of second grade was 'awesome' and that she made lots of new friends. Very cool!"
It's not that people are addicted to the Internet. It's that we are desperately trying to avoid real life.