Internet Users Turn Addicts

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On June 14, ABC news reported that an "internet-crazed"Cincinnati woman was arrested for neglecting her three young children. Thewoman reportedly spent 12 hours straight online, while her hungry kidswere locked away in one room so she could be online without interruption. The three kids were placed in county custodywhile the mother was tossed in jail. The Internet is rapidly becoming an addictive source to a lot ofits users. Users of the Internet include students, housewives, andbusiness professionals. Some of these Internet users spend a minimum ofthirty-eight hours per week on the "net"; hence, losing touch withreality and reeking havoc on their studies, family lives or careers.Individuals such as these are classified as "Internet Addicts." Based onlevel of addiction, there are three groups of Internet addicts: i) the"I'm-not-addicted users," ii) the "I-only-use-it-when-I-have-to-users" and iii) the"Internet junkies." The "I'm-not-addicted users" are the users who try to convincethemselves that they are not addicted to the Internet. This group includescollege students who don't go online during the day to prove to fellowstudents that they can do without get ting online; only, to stay up allnight in a chat room online. Or businesspeople who stay after office hoursto supposedly get a late report done; only, to stay online until thesecurity guy's ready to lock up the building. Or husbands who stay offlineal l day, only to get online for hours after their family members areasleep. These users are addicts but portray themselves otherwise in thepresence of people. Next, are "the I-only-use-it-when-I-have-to-users." These usersmake convenient excuses to use the Internet. Mothers who claim they have to visit their child's school's website, to read the highlights of thelast PTA meeting, while they could hav e waited for the minutes of themeeting in the mail. They end up staying online for hours. Or collegestudents who insist on checking out the ratings of a movie online, usingthis as an excuse to stay online for hours; while they could have lookedin the local newspaper. Or businesspeople who use checking for e-mail, asan excuse to get online; even though, the computer announces when there'snew mail. These addicts make excuses to justify their use of the Internet. The third group of Internet users is the "Internet junkies." Unlike addicts in the previous two groups, these users neither sneakonline nor make excuses to get online. They put their lives on hold to getonline. The mother in the story at the b eginning of the essay is anexample of an Internet junky. Another example of an Internet junky is awoman in her 40's resigns from her job suddenly with no reason given.Unfortunately she leaves some work undone and a family member tries tofind her for t he employer. Finally the woman is found hunched over hercomputer, completely oblivious to her surroundings. These addicts arecompletely oblivious to their surroundings. Although the Internet is a very useful and economical source ofinformation, it's fast becoming yet another addictive substance to some ofits users. Internet addiction seems very contemporary because it involvesa high-tech device. But psychiat rists and psychologists typically treatInternet addictions in much the same way they deal with other addictions.Just like drug, gambling, or alcohol, Internet addiction affects theaddicts' life and the lives of those around them.

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