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Unlike people who don’t develop an addiction, those hooked on cybersex actually become aroused by sexual cues on the Internet.
If you don’t become turned on by pornographic images on the Internet, you won’t become a cybersex addict.
South Africa may have as many as 20 000 Internet addicts, writes Howard Barrell Any South African company whose employees are linked to the Internet probably has at least one middle or senior manager suffering from some form of Internet addiction.
And that may well be an underestimate of the problem, according to a number of psychologists doing work in the addiction field.
However, there is as yet no reliable measurement of the extent of the problem either here or abroad.
American psychologists dealing with Internet addiction currently work on the assumption that a far higher proportion of Internet users - between 5% and 10% - are highly susceptible to addiction.
Research in the field is still emerging, but based on what’s known currently, it appears that women are in fact less likely to use cybersex than men, and when they do, they're more likely to join chat rooms than to view pornography.
Cases are beginning to reach South African doctors’ and therapists’ consulting rooms in which an individual may spend up to 36 hours at a stretch surfing the Internet.
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South Africa may have as many as 20 000 Internet addicts - if one applies a conservative 2% addiction probability rate to the more than one million Internet connections in the country.
These are people who experience a habitual compulsion to go online - an urge that is undermining their health, productivity and human relationships.