Computer Addiction. Essay

1666 words - 7 pages

Computer Addiction:How wide spread is the problem?Addictions can be healthy, unhealthy, or a mixture of both. If you are fascinated by a hobby, feel devoted to it, would like to spend as much time as possible pursuing it - this could be an outlet for learning, creativity, and self-expression. Even in some unhealthy addictions you can find these positive features embedded within (and thus maintaining) the problem. But in truly pathological addictions, the scale has tipped. The bad outweighs the good, resulting in serious disturbances in one's ability to function in the "real" world. Webster's Dictionary defines addiction as "a habit so strong that one cannot give it up." We are all aware that people form addictions to many things, from cocaine to gambling. References to alcoholism and workaholism are commonplace throughout our society. The idea that people can form addictions from using their computers is a relatively new one, but quickly gaining ground.Can people really become addicted to computers? The subject is quite complex. Computers are surrounding people more and more in their everyday lives. As soon as we get into our cars in the mornings we are confronted with computers. Computers are everywhere. We use them at supermarkets, gas stations, school, work, and library to name a few places. With more time being spent near or around computers, many people are developing an addiction to their computers. So, what exactly is computer compulsion, who is suffering from this addiction and why should we take it seriously?There has been a huge debate whether or not computer compulsion actually exists. One contributing factor is that computer compulsion has not been vastly studied to this date. A study done by John P. Charlton suggested that computer compulsion is when a person has a feeling of need to spend so much of their time on their computers that it causes problems with their health, finances, and relationships (329). "It is claimed that such behaviors can be educationally and vocationally damaging, and be harmful to social relationships (Charlton 329)." Unfortunately, the population still does not take computer addiction seriously enough. People tend to look the other way when considering computer compulsion viewing the people affected merely as someone with nothing else to do. The trouble is, the effects of this epidemic are real. People literally stop living on the outside world and only live in their virtual one. However, whether they are truly "addicted," and what exactly they are addicted to, is not clear. Are they addicted to the computers themselves, the particular programs they are running, or the real-life aspects embodied by those programs? Who exactly is addicted to computers?Computer addiction is shared by the young and the old, race is not a factor, nor is gender. People poor social skills, from the timid shy person to the very "geeky", are attracted to e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging services, because on the internet no one...

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