Chapter I: The Problem and its Settings “You do anything long enough to escape the habit of living until the escape becomes the habit. ” ~ David Ryan Introduction Internet and online game addiction, sometimes referred to as cyberspace addiction or online addiction, can manifest itself in many ways in today’s teens. If your daughter/son/sister/brother just spent an entire beautiful weekend updating his/her page on Facebook, playing online games on Y8, playing Vice City, battling on WarCraft foregoing a trip with the family to an amusement park or mall, he/she may be showing signs of addiction.
The Internet is a seductive place, especially for today’s linked-in teens who are far more likely to add graffiti to their friend’s Facebook wall than they are to actually get on their bicycle and ride over to that same friend’s house. You have to admit it would be a challenge to connect face-to-face with someone you’ve never met in person and who lives in a different time zone. Therein lies the problem. The Internet is perfect for teens. Today’s social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter let them represent themselves as whomever, or whatever, they want.
Everything is edited by them, chosen specifically to present the face they want the world to see. And if they decide to change that face, then they just delete some pictures, add some new friends, and voila! – new person! Experts say that as many as 10 percent of Internet users may be considered addicted, although some mental health professionals balk at using that term in a clinical sense. They argue that an activity can only be addictive when it causes a certain type of chemical reaction in the brain, and that’s hard to determine.
But when you’re arguing with a teen about the amount of time she’s spending online and she just can’t get her paper done because her Instant Messenger keeps alerting her something new and exciting is happening with her best friend, then call it what you like, it’s a problem – for you, the child, and the entire family. Many parents feel torn, though, about limiting their children’s time on the computer. If a teen is struggling socially, some parents believe any human interaction, even through the computer, is preferable to none.
And with teens that are risk-takers or have questionable taste in friends, some parents feel they can better monitor and keep their children safe by letting them stay home, downloading music files and creating quizzes for their Web pages. And many parents just want to avoid the tantrums, the cold shoulder, or the arguments that flare whenever the issue of computer time management comes up. Background of the Study Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.
It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email. Online game, a game played over some form of computer network.
This almost always means the Internet or equivalent technology, but games have always used whatever technology was current: modems before the Internet, and hard wiredterminals before modems. The expansion of online gaming has reflected the overall expansion of computer networks from small local networks to the Internet and the growth of Internet access itself. Online games can range from simple text based games to games incorporating complex graphics and virtual worlds populated by many players simultaneously. Many online games have associated online communities, making online games a form of social activity beyond single player games.
The rising popularity of Flash and Java led to an Internet revolution where websites could utilize streaming video, audio, and a whole new set of user interactivity. When Microsoft began packaging Flash as a pre-installed component of IE, the Internet began to shift from a data/information spectrum to also offer on-demand entertainment. This revolution paved the way for sites to offer games to web surfers. Some online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI and Lineage II charge a monthly fee to subscribe to their services, while games such as Guild Wars offer an alternative no monthly fee scheme.
Many other sites relied on advertising revenues from on-site sponsors, while others, like RuneScape, or Tibia let people play for free while leaving the players the option of paying, unlocking new content for the members. Addiction, can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it. Pleasure, enjoyment or relief from actual or perceived ailments would have originally been sought; however, over a period of time involvement with the substance or activity is needed to feel normal.
Some psychology professionals and many laypeople now mean ‘addiction’ to include abnormal psychological dependency on such things as gambling, video games, food, sex, pornography, computers, internet, work, exercise, adrenaline, idolizing, watching TV or certain types of non-pornographic videos, spiritual obsession, self-injury and shopping. The American Society of Addiction Medicine begins their definition of addiction by describing it as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Statement of the Problem