Internet and Video Game Addiction
Internet addiction is a worldwide disorder that is oblivious to the technological age we live in. Since its inception in 1991 (Livingstone), the World Wide Web has only improved our quality of life. People don’t perceive online technology as a problem but as a solution to make our lives cheaper and efficient. As a working college student, my whole life is run on the internet. I use Facebook religiously to keep in-touch with my friends, I play Xbox Live to compete with amateur Call of Duty players, I read online newspapers to get current events, and I use every internet resource available to write research papers like this one. I classify my use of these devices as a learnt behavior—not an addiction—I developed over time because of the long relationships I have with these device.
NetAddiction.com, a center for online addiction, classifies internet addiction disorder as “a compulsive behavior in which the Internet becomes the organizing principle of addicts' lives.” Having an addiction and engaging in compulsive behavior are two entirely different concepts. Internet addiction often arises from a low self-esteem or depression. Moreover, people with ADHD are more prone to the addiction because of boredom and the constant stimulation of the technology. Psychologists suggest that Internet addiction can be a symptom of a more recognized problem such as social isolation (Stewart) (Zed).
Netaddiction.com also states that “the most common type of internet addiction is online pornography, but online gambling, auction sites and multiplayer role-playing game are on the rise.” Multiplayer role-playing games tend to be the most common type of addiction among individuals ages 10-18. The source of many internet-addicted 10-18 year olds is the World’s most popular video game, World of Warcraft, a.k.a. “WOW.” The game’s influence has spread across every continent, consuming the childhoods of U.S. and Asian youth. The gaming industry has never been so vibrant because of an individual’s willingness to escape the negatives of reality and adopt a new persona in the online world of fantasy. The current trends in internet and gaming have shaped new global business models that serve this internet-addicted generation.
Internet addiction is growing in different parts of the world such as Italy, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Internet addiction has even become a serious public health concern in China, Korea, and Taiwan. As a result, private and government-run treatment centers have emerged across the US and abroad (Netaddiction.com). Internet addiction has already started to make its impact—it could be too late to prevent it.
The U.S. is listed as a nation in which internet addiction is growing in rapid numbers yet it not considered a hotspot of internet addicted teenagers worldwide. Stanford determined in a survey of 2500 respondents in 2006 that one in eight American adults showed signs of Web...