Experts debate the existence of Internet Addictive Disorder, but allow me to offer an opinion from a long-time gamer’s point of view.
Internet addiction is just as real as your face, and the danger it poses to this and coming generations is underestimated.
I started browsing the Web when I was in fourth grade, spending most of my online time in Nintendo chat rooms and on gaming Web sites. I spent a small amount of time on the Internet compared to my current usage, but I was in fourth grade.
At this point, I have already passed through a phase of Internet-defined existence, during which I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong.
However, over the course of my entire education, I have skipped a ton of classes and assignments either to play a game, or to catch up on sleep I lost while playing the night before.
I would invite IAD-skeptics to watch a World of Warcraft player go about their day.
Having played WoW for more than three years off and on, I can guarantee you that the allure of online games and environments pulls consumers into a merciless abandon of their surrounding circumstances.
Succeeding in the game feels just as rewarding as succeeding in real life, but it’s more entertaining.
As you are drawn into WoW, however, you are slowly sucked away from reality.
The same could be said about some of the older yet popular online releases, such as EverQuest – a game that people have killed themselves over.
What about MySpace?
MySpace harms users long before child predators and stalkers even get to them.
I had hardly realized that MySpace existed before it was completely consuming people’s lives.
I have seen people’s relationships and friendships shatter, as well their grades and goals, at the beckoning call of MySpace’s trendy lure.
Have you ever walked into the Freudian Sip or the Learning Center and watched people use the computers?
MySpace can be a valuable networking tool and a great way to keep in contact with people, but it has also become the attention seeking face of millions of users.
World of Warcraft and MySpace are merely two examples from a vast universe of addiction that exists undeniably.