Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Is Your (inner) Child Addicted to the Internet?

Two recent events have reminded me to ponder the social implications of Internet Addiction– one, the power (once again) went out for a lengthy duration here at T4E Headquarters; and, two, my nephew’s father wanted to take him for his first fishing trip.
At a lake.gaming-addiction
Out in the boondocks.
Where there is no Internet. (Thus, no Swords & Dragons Quest Guild Wars*) My nephew is 12.

We use our computers, and the Internet, for lots of different purposes (see Why We Compute) and some of us, like me, even conduct our businesses online. For us, service interruptions can seem minor inconveniences, or disastrous business events.
12 year-old boys (well, my nephew anyway) use computers and the Internet to play games, and an interruption seems like the END OF THE WORLD.

, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of cyber-addiction, and member of the Harvard Medical School faculty, lists the Symptoms of IA:

* Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer
* Inability to stop the activity
* Craving more and more time at the computer
* Neglect of family and friends
* Feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer
* Lying to employers and family about activities
* A child’s grades fall and the teacher notes that he/she is falling asleep in class

When I lose my Internet service, not only am I unable to assist clients with , but I experience a good dose of #5 on that list. I joke with friends that I experience Internet “withdrawal” (and I show them my trembling hands). But I am not an addict, not like some of the people who have appeared in the headlines– I have not lost my wife/house/job/friends.

And, honestly, I don’t think my nephew is that bad off either.. he did go on the fishing trip and enjoyed it.
But I am concerned. I know that these MMORPG’s are designed to be addicting, and that they take hundreds of hours to play enough to “advance” in. I know that my nephew spends far too much time with his online games (like, all his free time).
And.. I know that his behavior (getting home from school and going straight to the computer) is considered “normal” these days.
(And mom can keep an eye on him.. and he’s not out doing risky things like skateboarding, climbing tall trees, riding motorscooters, or running with sharp sticks..)

I am not an expert. I cannot tell you if you, or your child is an Internet Addict. I cannot predict the future, and see how my nephew is “going to turn out”. I can only tell you that Internet Addiction is real, and that it is a subject worth consideration. And, there’s an online addiction assessment test you can take if you have suspicions/concerns.

If you think you, or your child is an addict, there is a large community of help available. Enter “Internet Addiction” into a search engine, and start seeking it.

* A game name I made up.

Photo courtesy of WiredParentPad, What Every Parent Ought to Know About World of Warcraft.
Also, please see Video Game Addiction – True or False? and Detox Centers for Computer and Internet Related Addictions

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 23, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, Gaming, Internet, kids and the Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , ,

13 Comments »

  1. […] Original post by techpaul […]

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    Pingback by Is Your (inner) Child Addicted to the Internet? : thegameoflove | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] Random Feed wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptTwo recent events have reminded me to ponder the social implications of Internet Addiction– one, the power (once again) went out for a lengthy duration here at T4E Headquarters; and, two, my nephew’s father wanted to take him for his first fishing trip. At a lake. Out in the boondocks. Where there is no Internet. (Thus, no Swords & Dragons Quest Guild Wars*) My nephew is 12. We use our computers, and the Internet, for lots of different purposes (see Why We Compute) and some of us, like […]

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    Pingback by Is Your (inner) Child Addicted to the Internet? | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. hm, this is just what almost every kid experiences when gaming. Games are created just so , that kids are bound to play more. They complete something, they get a reward, the complete more they get rewarded more in several and newer ways. It’s like training a dog, but it works perfectly on humans, why ? because it’s exactly the same thing that your parents do when you mow the lawn or get some good grades at school..they take you on a trip, or buy your fav. food…Only now it’s introduced to games, and it works perfectly …i’ve been there i played games and i hated to do something else, …i wasn’t allowed to play much and my parents had a neurotic sensitivity for it when i played, but anyway. Games did help me alot to find my way in alot of things, they make me use other programs like photoshop, or internet. Games aren’t all bad, but they should be used in a proper way….not the WoW way…if you get my point ;)

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    Comment by coration | August 25, 2008 | Reply

  4. Coration–
    I quite agree that “not all games are bad”. In fact, the reason I switched from Mac to PC was due to games.. And the reason I became a Geek was because of computer games (namely, Duke Nukem 3D).
    Because of the “groundbreaking” nature of those early games, I simply had to install graphics cards and a sound cards. This was in the days of Windows 95. To get the cards to work, you simply had to learn about memory address ranges and IRQ’s and troubleshooting device drivers.
    (To give you an idea of how early in the development of computers I’m talking about is– The Top of the Line graphics card was the Hercules Monster 3D, which had 4 MB’s of RAM [almost $400].)

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    Comment by techpaul | August 25, 2008 | Reply

  5. […] another view on this topic check out “Is Your Inner Child Addicted to the Internet” by my good buddy, TechPaul. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Video Game […]

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    Pingback by Video Game Addiction - True or False? « Bill Mullins’ Weblog - Tech Thoughts | October 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. […] or husband addicted to video games, or perhaps your girlfriend or wife? Are you an adult with an internet addiction that consumes most if not all of your time, perhaps creating problems in your personal […]

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    Pingback by Video Game Addiction-Symptoms and Treatment of Video Game Addiction | Telling It Like It Is | November 3, 2008 | Reply

  7. […] or husband addicted to video games, or perhaps your girlfriend or wife? Are you an adult with an internet addiction that consumes most if not all of your time, perhaps creating problems in your personal […]

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    Pingback by Video Game Addiction « Pdxtrav’s Weblog | November 19, 2008 | Reply

  8. I think this article is dead on on a lot of common behaviors that occur today and we don’t realize we actually do ourselves. I feel the same way when I am not connected to the internet. However, I don’t consider myself an addict. I think though that kids are addicted to playing games on the computer. Not a bad thing necessarily. Depending on the game that is. But the amount of time they spend doing the activity of playing should be regulated by their parents.So, there should be a healthy balance of distribution of time for playing and doing other things. And also that way we can avoid the kid from being extremely addicted to playing games.

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    Comment by dunnderboy | April 30, 2009 | Reply

  9. I’ve been a Internet addict for years and I experience the symptoms 1 and 3. Also, I did the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and got a 55/100. IMO, there’re multiple causes for this kind of addiction. Personally, I guess the fact that I’ve been a very introvert person all my life doesn’t help at all.

    The good news is that it hasn’t affected my grades, I get A’s consistently in all my subjects. I reached the conclusion that this is because I constantly remind myself to focus always and exclusively on the results (I never force myself to work hard for the sake of working, but to achieve my goals)

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    Comment by Kai | September 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Kai,
      I agree that there are many issues at play, and I believe that obsessive/compulsive behavior can be manifest in many ways. I am certainly no expert, but I would view “Internet addiction” as a symptom of something deeper, and not a “disease” of its own..

      Of course, if you suspect that you have mental health issues, such as addiction, I suggest that you seek counseling.

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      Comment by techpaul | September 11, 2009 | Reply

      • TechPaul,

        It’s hard to tell how bad my situation is.

        On one hand, as I said in my earlier comment, I seem to keep a bit of control on myself, meaning I always put important things or my family/friends first. Also, I’m only a casual gamer and I don’t feel anxious or depressed when I’m not in front of the computer.

        On the other hand, I admit I’m an emotionally unstable person, and this has gone worse and worse over the years. For instance,sometimes I feel terribly sad all of a sudden and when that happens I usually go online to find something entertaining so I can forget how I feel.

        Anyway, thanks for the advice, I will try to find someone who can help me :)

        Kai

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        Comment by Kai | September 12, 2009 | Reply

        • Kai,
          I wish to start my reply with the reminder that I am a computer geek and not a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. With that out of the way, I need to next say that I don’t know your background, family situation, you age, or even what country you’re in.. or what kind of assistance might be available to you…
          But I do have enough “life experience” to want to remind you that there is no shame in seeking the counsel of a mentor/adviser/counselor, and sometimes that’s best sought from a trained professional. You are worth it, so overcome your “introversion” and talk to someone about your “instability” and sadness.

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          Comment by techpaul | September 12, 2009 | Reply

  10. LOVE CHILD a documentary about Internet Addiction
    heres the trailer http://lovechildmovie.com/
    The story of addiction becomes one of immersion.

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    Comment by sam.souffle | November 21, 2012 | Reply


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