Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Internet Addiction

I enclosed an article published in 2000 entitled, "Is Internet Addiction Real?" Today, we do have more research, more findings, and more clinical treatment settings devoted to Internet addiction recovery. I thought it would be interesting to explore it myself and share some things to you.

One of the true signs of addiction is that a person experiences negative consequences as a result of something, whatever it may be - alcohol, drugs, sex, an affair, food, chemical, etc. With alcohol and drugs, a few common consequences are DUIs, jail time, and the loss of a job and/or relationship. A natural consequence for sex addicts is catching STDs. What are the consequences of Internet addiction?

In August 2005, a 28-year-old South Korean man died – not by committing suicide, but after playing the game Starcraft at an Internet cafĂ© for 50 hours straight. By all reports, the man had not slept properly and had eaten very little in that time. While no autopsy was performed, he was believed to have died from heart failure stemming from exhaustion.

A 13-year-old Chinese boy died falling from a building. His parents are suing Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft. The boy was allegedly re-enacting a scene from the game. In the Nevada, a couple ignored their two toddlers to the point of neglect due to their gaming addiction.

The children of Michael and Iana Straw, a boy age 22 months and a girl age 11 months, were severely malnourished and near death last month when doctors saw them after social workers took them to a hospital, authorities said. Both children are doing well and gaining weight in foster care.

Police said hospital staff had to shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration. Her brother had to be treated for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking, investigators said. The prosecutor said, “They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games.”

Attorneys said the Reno couple was too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing “Dungeons & Dragons” series, to give their children proper care.

Up to 37% of men and 22% of women admit to having affairs. Researchers think the vast majority of the millions of people who visit chat rooms, have multiple "special friends" .

Lawyers also said that one-third of divorce litigation is caused by online affairs ("This Is An Internet E-Mergency", The Fortino Group).

Studies from China, Germany, Italy, Iran, Pakistan, and India have also documented cases of Internet addiction. Given the dramatic effects reported and studies on the consequences of compulsive use of the Internet, the question is "Do you think Internet addiction should be given the same status as other addictions?"