Her computer dream turned to nightmare when she sold up and moved to be with her cyberpal (who had just left his wife), only to be told a week later that the couple were getting back together.
The heart-breaking turn of events gave her the motivation to control her addiction--and write the book Caught in the Web.
Dr Kimberly Young, who set up The Centre for Online Addiction (www.netaddiction.com) in America, studied 396 people whom she considered were psychologically dependent on the Net. They ranged in age from 14 to 70 and spent an average of 38.5 hours a week on the Web.
Her study, backed by further research in Britain, found that women were more likely to become addicts. So while the old stereotypical addict was a young man who spent hours playing games, downloading software or reading messages on newsgroups, the new image is of a young woman who fritters away hours e-mailing friends, buying books and CDs online, talking in chatrooms and looking for information for next year's holiday.
I guess I was a typical example of someone hooked on the Internet," says Parker, who now spends just an hour a day online. "I was coming home at lunchtime to get on the computer. At 6 p.m. I'd feed my son and put him to bed but all the time I was going backwards and forwards to the computer. Then I'd stay up until 5a.m. or 6 a.m., typing away ' chatting' on my computer screen all night."