The woes of the Internet

Postscript examines two obstacles—high garbage standards and the Internet

If the screen looks more familiar than your own face, it might be addiction.
If the screen looks more familiar than your own face, it might be addiction.

Do you laugh when friends tell you a funny joke? Or do you “LOL” or “ROFL”?

During summer, I LOL’ed so much, I often felt like I was going to crash headlong into my computer screen.

Was it because I played computer games for hours on end? No. My friends know I can’t even get a game character to walk in a straight line. I spent my time on the computer on more futile objectives, such as reading the latest Harry Potter news, and laughing at the greatness of Baby Blues, Pickles, and Non Sequitur. Every day.

Have I ever spent five consecutive hours on the Internet? Yes.

Have I ever spent an entire day on the Internet? Ahem... yes.

An entire night? Why not?

Perhaps this is alright during summer, but during the school year? Probably not, which begs the question: are you a computer addict?

If you said yes, fear not. According to Channel NewsAsia, some 2.5 million youths in China have said yes to the same question. Quite a good portion of them are now on a waiting list to get into a rehabilitation centre to get rid of their new-age addiction.

The six-month-old centre, however, can only take in 20 patients at one time, and the demand for its services is so high, an expansion plan is already on the way.

A former addict, Huang Baolong, was quoted saying: “I played continuously for days. Because of that, when I went to school, I slept.”

The addiction is also affecting my life as it did Huang. I find myself feeling more comfortable in the tight space between the computer and my chair than I do in my bed.

However innocent computer addiction appears, it has consequences, including reduced work productivity, and reduced ability in face-to-face interactions. These consequences could snowball into something even larger and more uncontrollable.

Consider the world’s most wired nation, South Korea. Twelve million of its 48 million citizens use high-speed Internet. According to a poll conducted by the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion, 60.3 per cent of the 12 million users admitted that Internet use disrupted their daily lives.

Also, according to the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, there is the possibility that excessive use of interactive Internet capabilities such as downloading and gaming, may have some relationship to personality handicaps. However, the direction of causality remains uncertain.

As wise Queen’s students, I believe you’ll agree everything is best done in moderation. Unfortunately, we often forget this well-known piece of wisdom, especially when we check our e-mails more than five times a day, or play that fifteenth game of solitaire.

Perhaps you might want to think twice before going on the internet today.

—With files from BBC Monitoring Media, Calgary Herald, Newcastle Herald.

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