Is internet addiction really an addiction? That's the question being posed by a wrongful termination lawsuit filed recently against IBM.
By his own admission, former IBM employee James Pacenza enjoyed the internet porns. He often cruised sexually explicit websites at work, and a co-worker noticing the illicit typing led to Pacenza's termination in 2003.
Pacenza contends that he is addicted to the internet, a problem stemming from the post-traumatic-stress disorder he picked up while serving in 'Nam. If Pacenza had been addicted to a "traditional" substance, his employer would have been obligated to provide him with medical help and could not fire him for the problem. IBM, as you'd expect, differs on the termination, categorizing Pacenza's at-work internet usage as bad decision making as opposed to a medical condition.
Expert opinions differ on whether internet addiction is a "real" addiction, and businesses are understandably doubting the veracity of internet addiction claims. Pacenza's lawsuit may settle the issue, at least in a legal sense.
Are you addicted to the internet? God knows I spend all day using the internets, but I look forward to not being hooked up... at least for a few days. Then it's back on the horse.
Business Week: Virtually Addicted