April 26, 2010
Internet Addiction Found In Students
Imagine what would happen if the whole internet went down.
Researchers at the University of Maryland who asked 200 students to give up all media for one full day found that after 24 hours many showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their media and social links.
There are two ways to react to this report. Most obviously people could try to kick their internet addiction. But another possible approach is to accept the addiction reshape our society around it. Avoid withdrawal by building a more secure and more widely accessible internet. Internet connectivity devices could be embedded in our brains (kind of like the embedded telephones in The President's Analyst). We need robotic cars that can drive for us so that we do not have to distract ourselves away from the internet in order to drive. We could all have dogs for the handicapped that would guide us when we walk while we do text messaging.
This reminds me of the great South Park internet episode. What happens when the internet goes down in South Park? The result is not pretty. Got to head out to California just like the Okies in the Dust Bowl era.
Is it just me or does there seem to be more hysteria about "Internet addiction" than ever there was about television addiction?
Ha! - Never saw that episode - I'll hafta check it out...
I don't have a big problem being without internet on vacation - although for business reasons I have to make sure I can have access when necessary.
This week I have been out of state and without my normal access - but I feel really more bored than anxious aboout it.
I do admit I use the Internet as some kind of extension of my mind - when I think about things - so it takes me a second to remember that I cannot pull such and such fact or answer or detail on demand - when I am travelling with limited connectivity.
I usually make sure I have some good, non-fiction, material with me to keep my mind from atrophying.
(particularly on those trips where good spirits and good conversation are far and few between)
I find most true Internet "addicts" are those who cannot stand to be away from WoW or Facebook - so they are really experiencing more of a social network withdrawl than a true media withdraw - as television usually suffices to provide such types with the mindless entertainment they so crave.
I burst out laughing when I read, "We could all have dogs for the handicapped that would guide us when we walk while we do text messaging." As long as we're imagining The World of Tomorrow, Randall, if iPhones had sonar or vision, they could warn us and save dogs a lifetime of vigilance.
To James Bowery: I think the concern about television was just as great and likely greater, although I don't recall much talk of "television addiction" in precisely such words. Consider the language the Americans have created to describe passive consumption of television: "boob tube," "couch potato," "channel surfing." My sense is there are more expressions that don't immediately come to mind.