Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are You Addicted to the Internet?

Can you keep away from Facebook, Twitter, other social network sites or online games for more than 24 hours? Have you tried it? The Diagnostic Manual used by the American Psychiatric Association might be updated to include Internet addiction as a psychiatric disorder. Here's a comment from the eNew Campus News, September 15, 2009: “Nonstop video-game playing and web surfing has led to the opening of a new internet addiction center in the United States, and experts on computer overuse say they expect web addiction soon will be treated like any other addiction, such as alcohol or drug abuse.” This newly opened treatment facility in Washington state treats addicts in a 45-rehab program during which time they must stay off the Internet. Some see the addiction as dangerous as alcohol or drug addiction, breaking up families, ruining marriages and careers, and careening a college student’s career into the abyss. Access the article, College Students Vulnerable to Internet Addiction, for details. Is Internet addiction truly serious enough to necessitate rehab centers or psychiatric treatment? What are our obligations as educators to address this societal issue in the age when the Internet is omnipresent?
Image credit: from the article, College Student Vulnerable to Internet Addiction, 9/15/2009

8 comments:

Carrie said...

Saying an addiction to the internet is like an addition to alcohol or drugs means that some people should seek help for talking too much on the telephone or texting. I don't mean to make light of a topic that can be considered addiction. I am not a victim of this nor do I know anyone who is. Perhaps it's my age and the fact that I know I can live without the internet because I have. But the internet is a symbol of our times. When the telephone was introduced, do you think people thought they were addicted? (It wasn't free so maybe not) My point is that everything in moderation. If someone is going to abuse and the internet isn't around then they will find something else. As teachers, not only should we open our stuents eyes to the internet and all it provides, we also need to teach that with all things, too much of a good thing can turn it. Moderation is key.

Caitlin said...

I agree that moderation is the key when it comes to the internet. I can open up a world of possibilites to children, and provide opportuinites to things that were not possible before. A perfect example of this is the internet field trip...making trips that were impossible before possible. When it comes to frequent internet use in the home, time limits and blocks on the type of sites that can be visited are good modifications that can curb internet additicns. It is all about teaching kids how to get the most out of this resource without over doing it.
This article also made me think of the term of "screen addition" which implies that we are spend an increasing amount of time in front of computer and television screens. I know that I fit into that, and I would bet that most people in the 15-30 range and maybe higher would be right with me.

Lilly said...

My school uses a curriculum called isafe which is used to teach students about bullying issues and cyber safety in terms of facebook, instant messaging, emailing, knowing what is a legitimate site and what is not...ect. It may be possible to add a lesson about addictions and ways to avoid it. I think listing concrete actions that define an online addicition is important when speaking with students. Also, it's such a new phenomenon that definition to what is considered an addict is important to share with the general public not just children.

Meg said...

i was totally shocked during and after reading it. i agree with the other posts that everything needs to be in moderation, but at the same time, maybe these students are not yet ready for college if this addiction is making them flunk out. I do not personally know those people, but it seems as if they need more self discipline and more maturity to be living on their own or attend college. I have never heard of anyone having a computer or internet addiction, so it sounds to me like this is an excuse for flunking out of college.

Scott Kossbiel said...

It's funny, as a teacher I refuse to have things like a Facebook page, Twitter acount, or a MySpace page, for fear of my students and families being able to access my personal life. Along those same lines, I try my best call someone live rather than email when I need something from somebody or just want to talk. Having said that however, I do feel that I am addicted to the internet. Not a day goes by when I am not on my computer, and if for some reason I was forced to not be around the computer for a day, I would feel like I was going through a withdrawl. It is the first thing I do in the morning; check my emails. I feel it is just the way society is WIRED now and it is only going to get worse...UH OH!

Kate said...

I definitely think that it is possible to be addicted to the internet. Is it as severe as being addicted to drugs and alcohol, absolutely not. However, in the technology age we live in, it is important to be aware of how much time children spend on the internet. It is important to establish rules with how long a child should be on the internet. As discussed in previous posts I agree that moderation is key. As the old saying goes, "Everything in moderation." Too much of anything is a bad thing. Limiting video game usage with children is also a must. As a fifth grade teacher, students share with me how many hours they spend playing video games, which is a lot. I shudder to think what the ramifications of this will be in the future. Children need time to play outside, socialize, read, attend extra- curricular activities etc. Unfortunately, I am finding that after coming back from a weekend and asking many male students what they did, all they say is that they played video games. As a parent I would think common sense would tell you not to allow so many hours of video games. What also makes me uneasy is the fact that the video games my fifth graders are playing are so violent. Just because it's a video game does not mean it's ok for children to be witness to violent, bloody gore. I think the only solution to this growing problem is to have parents limit video game and internet usage starting at a young age. Violent video games should also be banned, which I know is idealistic and unrealistic. In the end though, realistically, moderation is the answer.

xxjess813xx said...

I thought that this article was very interesting. I can see how people sit on the internet for hours watching videos, playing games and chatting with people because I am guilty of it. However while in school, students should be taught how to make the most of using the internet especially when completing school work. There were times when I was in school and found that while most of the class was doing their research, the other students were on other websites that had nothing to do with the task at hand. I feel as though trying to control how much as child is on the internet as a teacher is difficult but its up to the parents. Does the child have a computer in their room? Is there one computer for the whole household? Parents should monitor their childs internet use.

Christina said...

I agree that the internet can become an obsession. When I was in college I admit I was semi-addicted to AIM. I wouldn't miss class to chat with my friends but when I came home I would rush to my computer to see who was online and who sent me messages. I would stay up later than I should talking to people. Now the internet provides many more of these types of programs and games, I can see how some students have trouble resisting them. I agree that it is important to teach our children about moderation. Children entering college are struggling with living on their own and managing their time wisely; the internet and video games do not help. The young man in this article was the perfect example of what can happen. He would rather play video games than go to class. His parents were no longer there to force him to leave the the computer. I believe that the message for us teachers is to teach moderation to our students. It's okay to embrace the internet and all it has to offer, in moderation. I believe that for some people it can become an addiction. For this reason we need to embrace those "teachable moments" within the classroom. The importance of moderation is one of those important moments, now more than ever.

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