The invitations are alluring, complimentary and full of promise. A website says, “Geeks were once ridiculed and reviled” but then “geeks became the people to know. In fact, they started being considered cool.” For many teens today ‘cool’ is a craving.
The Internet provides a cool world. The Geeks are like the new astronauts. They have a world without parents and they friend only those they choose or those who trap them.
The Geek can find a forum or a chat room or a great variety of creative and appealing activities. In some cases the Geek becomes a statistic and finds it difficult to live without their internet fix.
The phrase Internet addiction has become a new medical term that dates back to the late 1990’s. The pioneering studies came from Dr Kimberly Young. In 1998 she published ‘Caught in the Net’.
A professor at St. Bonaventure University, Dr Young founded the first inpatient clinic for Internet addiction. She also assisted The Centre for Internet Addiction to set up an informative website netaddiction.com They listed Internet Gaming Disorder, Internet Gambling, Internet Infidelity, Sexting and Porn as key topics of concern.
“Excessive internet use, sexualisation of children, cyber bullying and aggression are all risks associated with media usage by children and adolescents.” This quote published by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, March 2012.( Article: ‘Mental Health of Children impacted by Internet, Media and Technology)
Of course the internet is a powerful and productive tool for studies, research and even relaxation. Not all internet use comes under the addiction label.But the ‘internet addictive’ condition may produce observable symptoms. Mood swings, withdrawal and dependence are among the tell-tale signs.
Two years ago a Sun Herald report found children as young as eight were being hooked on computer games and the Internet. (Elissa Doherty, Herald Sun, Feb 19, 2014) In that article teens were reportedly spending up to 15 hours a day on specific games.
“We are sitting on a ticking time bomb — a very large portion of the children and teenagers that I see in clinic has an addiction or overuse problem to some extent.” The Sun Herald quoted Dr Tam, co-founder of the Network for Internet Investigation and Research, Australia.
Tam warned of serious cases where young people were playing all night and not sleeping and even dropping out of school.
A 2015 documentary ‘Web Junkie’ stunned U.S. viewers. The camera followed several teenage Internet addicts as they are sent to a rehabilitation camp in the south of Beijing, China. The teenagers were drugged or tricked by their parents and transferred to the boot-camp. The common theme from the programme was the addicts commitment to escapism.‘Web Junkie was made in China, where producers say over 400 rehabilitation camps function.
Another report from China, produced with cooperative participants, found addicts had conduct and concentration problems. The addicts escaped into their internet world and they achieved a sense of self-satisfaction and even approval. They also had a high degree of loneliness and depression compared to non-addict groups.
A stunning South Korean case reports on the death of a 3 months old baby girl. The police enquiry found the parents were spending 12 hours a day in an Internet café raising their Internet daughter. Their baby died of malnutrition, neglects at home. This is Internet addiction in the extreme and it is frightening. It reveals just how far this addiction can go.
‘Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?” the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome. (Romans chapter 6, verse 16) Internet addiction is a form of entrapment or becoming enslaved. It may warrant a loving intervention, to bring freedom.
Do you know someone who absorbed by the internet? Is there a situation where the Internet is used as a child-minding service?
Is there someone close to you displaying restlessness, mood swings, sleeplessness or irritability? Is it you? Every symptom mentioned is shown as a possible outcome from Internet overdose. Not so strangely, the Proverbs (Bible) are no stranger to 'awareness'.
The Network for Internet Investigation and Research Australia (NIIRA) lists therapists who specialise in Internet Overuse Problems. Visit niira.org.au or talk to your doctor, but please talk to someone.
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html