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Internet Addiction...
« on: August 14, 2006, 09:41:40 AM »

From WSJ..
Don't Read This Online
August 11, 2006; Page W9

A Canadian survey this month warns that the Internet can cause antisocial behavior. The survey dovetails with a decade of horror stories about people who can't stop spending too much time in front of their computer, even as their lives fall apart. An entire cohort of experts has sprung up to diagnose and treat what they call Internet Addiction Disorder, or IAD. Other experts, so far unwilling to elevate the behavior to addiction level, instead refer to PIU -- Pathologic Internet Use, or simply, "internetomania."

Whatever it's called, it must be serious, because there are so many professionals and facilities now offering help for the condition and so many grim statistics accompanying warnings of a virtual epidemic -- e.g., that 20% of children may be affected. Look closely, though, and most of the statistics are wild guesswork. In fact, the only thing certain about Internet addiction is that it has created a fresh niche for people who make their living marketing services to deal with the latest disorder.

The symptoms of this one, we are told, are not unlike those of alcoholism or compulsive gambling -- featuring. similar destructive urges and psychological dependence. The effects range from ruined marriages to bladder problems caused by an unwillingness to take a break from the screen.

Accounts of the scourge pour in from around the globe. The University of Texas at Dallas offers advice for compulsive Internet users alongside information about eating disorders. In some countries, it has become an official matter, too. A government public-awareness campaign in Zurich cautions the Swiss: "Spending lots of time in virtual worlds, especially chat rooms, online games and sex sites, can lead to a dependence comparable to other addictions."

Young people are most often said to be at risk for Internet-related disorders, especially those involved in MMORPGs, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, in which millions of subscribers world-wide can compete for virtual prizes. A Shanghai youth got life in prison last year after he killed someone in a dispute over a stolen "virtual" sword. A Korean man reportedly died after a 50-hour marathon game session. Yet we're also told that no one is immune: kids, adults, rich, poor -- you know the drill. At least one expert has identified a particular threat to lonely older women.

After a 2005 survey predicted an Internet-addiction epidemic in Australia, many ordinary Aussies went on the Web to say "Nonsense!" In the therapy community, however, that would be called denial. A psychiatrist in Vienna insists that the condition be covered by health insurance. The Web site of the Pennsylvania-based Center for Online Addiction is teeming with both socially and financially expensive thoughts.

Discussing the legal implications of Internet addiction, for instance, the Center implies that some people convicted of online pedophilia may have a defense claim that the Internet made them do it. Employment law may be another deep vein: If someone gets fired for Internet abuse at work, the Center notes, "the employee can, in turn, sue the company for wrongful termination based upon Internet addiction covered as a disability under the [Americans with Disabilities Act]."

And so it will surely go. For all of our sakes: You Internet addicts, real or imagined -- please get a life.
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Re: Internet Addiction...
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2006, 09:49:58 AM »

[looks at watch and sees that it's 5:48am]
[looks at calendar and sees that there's a final exam in 13 hours]
[logs off cv]
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
-- Mohandas K *hi


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Re: Internet Addiction...
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2006, 10:12:35 AM »

[looks at watch and sees that it's 5:48am]
[looks at calendar and sees that there's a final exam in 13 hours]
[logs off cv]

[looks at clock on the taskbar and sees it is 3:08 am]
[looks at Outlook Calender and sees that there is an early morning meeting in 8]
[thinks about sleeping]
[decides to browse wikipedia for articles on sleep requirement]
[changes playlist on winamp]
[Wonders what this society thing is all about]
[decides to google for it at some point]
[sees interesting article on parallel forth]
[wonders if forth would work in today's software companies]
[bookmarks the link for the interesting Siggraph paper]
[plays a quick game of minesweeper - Booyah new time baby!]
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