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.
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.
Dr. Orzack, PhD, 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 Remote Sessions, 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. post to jaanix
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