This morning on the T-bana (the underground) a colleague told me about a family who had to give their child to the authorities because the parents could not control his game playing obsession/addiction. It had become so bad that when they tried to move them away from the computer to eat, to go to bed, to go to school, he (I am not sure it is a he..nor do I know the country of origin) became violent towards his parents. I did a quick search of the Internet but could not reference the source of this story, but there are numerous sites dedicated to help parents, and children, with this problem, which also includes computer and Internet addiction as a natural extension. It is in the news, and one Canadian site (TechAddiction) is quite comprehensive about this and includes links to some research statistics, books, and other resources to help parents. However, I think it is applicable to people of any age. Dr. Brent Conrad created this site, and interestingly, comes from my hometown of Halifax and also went to my alma mater, Simon Fraser University (SFU)! Way to go Dr. C! He also has a blog on WordPress…
I am not going to go into depth about this issue as I am not a medical professional. Instead I ask myself:
Am I addicted to the Internet and the computer?
I have had the following arguments in my head for some time. I am an expert at rationalization since I already have the mental predilection to become addicted/obsessed/ compulsive. Although I do not play video games, the following are my worries…
- I have been known to play Solitaire/Tetris/Jewel Quest for ages —not because I like it, but I figured I could extricate myself before disappearing into a zone out, space out land of mind death. Although I can..
- Break these cycles by drinking wine, eating chocolate, or watching a movie..in fact..
- I can watch TV and movies for hours, I can read for hours (not that this is a bad thing), and now I can find myself checking my Smartphone in a compulsive manner.
I should add that my Smartphone went to Brussels and had an accident. Don’t worry! She is alive…but I am without her for a few days…I am already aware of my behaviour (see the Art and Science of Blogging).
- When I was young, I obsessively organized my room, sorted and valued my stamps, cut and pasted hundreds of recipes from magazines into binders. Today I electronically organize things—blog posts, photos, music, categories/tags, files. And then when everything is organized…I check my statistics, messages, Facebook, email…and then
- For the month of November I focused on reading and writing for NaNo, a good thing although it has its own set of addictions (if you are reading this and simultaneously checking your stats you know to what I refer).
I do have a few things going for me that gives me that hope that I am still a functioning human, who just happens to like technology:
- I don’t walk around with headphones on
- I interact with people. In fact, I scare people on elevators all the time because I talk to them…
- I don’t have cable/satellite TV
- I have not played Solitaire for quite some time…
- I can still read an analog clock or watch
- I still love libraries and reading real books
My analysis is still pending, but basically it goes something like this:
I am writing this blog on a computer using the Internet. And dear SmartPhone, if you can hear me, when you return, I have a new Protection Bag to keep you warm, dry and safe. Yes, I am completely normal.