Caught in the Web?
// Posted by Phylicia on 02/20/2012 (8:56 PM)
This morning, I read the same article on Al Jazeera as Cameron. Just as he did, I found it extremely interested, so I decided to do some further research on “Internet Addicts.” Now I hope that most (read: all) who are reading this are not so addicted to the internet that they forget to feed their (real or hypothetical) infant daughter because they were so completely consumed by an internet game of a virtual child (which the parents did in fact remember to feed). Sadly, these Korean parents, lost their daughter because she starved to death because they were so severely addicted.
This traumatic and heartbreaking story caught my interest. I decided to look into Internet Addition Disorder (IAD) which is believed by some to be a new mental disorder. (NOTE: It is not yet included in the DSM-5, but there is hope since “google” is now a verb in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.) Since 2009, there have been Internet Rehab Centers popping up around the US, but is this necessary? For some, it seems like it is. One of the Internet Rehab Centers I explored was the Heavensfield Retreat in Falls City, Washington. The program at the center is called reSTART. ReSTART is a rather witty name since many wish that life was as easy to restart as their computers.
It’s slogan is something rather powerful… “connect with LIFE” insinuating that those who are addicted to the internet, do not have the ability, the power nor the choice to connect with life. However, this notion makes it seem like there is no such thing as a virtual life. I would argue that there is. The issue I have is that there is more than merely a virtual life. There is a real life; a life where individuals must connect personally, not just virtually, and enjoy the physical world around them.
Below is the list of symptoms that the program believes determines an Internet Addict based on a Mashable article:
1. Have a strong desire or impulse to use the internet.
2. Decreasing or stopping of the internet leads to withdrawal symptoms (e.g., general malaise, restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, dyssomnia); and the above mentioned symptoms may be relieved by similar electronic media (e.g., TV, handheld games, gaming devices).
3. Continually increasing the amount of internet use and the extent of internet involvement to reach sense of satisfaction.
4. Use of internet in spite of its harmful effects; despite knowledge of harmful effects, internet use is hard to stop.
5. Difficulties controlling beginning, and finishing, and the duration of time of internet use; efforts to modify internet use may be attempted multiple times without success.
6. As a result of internet use, interests, recreation or social activities are decreased or abandoned.
7. Internet use is seen as a way to escape problems or to gain relief from negative feelings.
8. The extent of internet use is denied or minimized to teachers, schoolmates, friends or professionals (including actual time and expenditure of internet contact).
9. Everyday life and social function is impaired (e.g., in social, academic and workability.)
Does this list seem to define Internet Addicts as you image them? Anything you think should be added to the list?
Perhaps an even better questions, does everyone need to reSTART? Why are we, so incredibly uncomfortable with being disconnected even for day?