I picked up the March 2,2009 edition of Time Magazine today and stumbled across an article about Internet Addiction in China. The article starts talking about a mother whose 12 year old son just beat and bit her after she would not let him on the computer. China has roughly 300 million web users and is now dealing with an epidemic of Internet obsession with its youth.
"According to the guidelines set by Tao Ran, director of the Beijing center and a colonel in the People's Liberation Army, using the Web for 6 consecutive hours a day for three straight months constitutes an addiction."
This got me thinking about my own Internet use. I check email more than once a day. I pay my bills and I also shop. I browse the web looking for information on things that peaked my interest. I play Everquest II, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and Immortal Cities:Nile Online,a browser based game. I blog off and on (more off lately but that is going to change). Oh and last but not least, I chat with my online friends using Trillian or Skype. On an average day I would say I spend 6 or more hours online.
I suppose once in my Internet life, I would have considered myself an addict. Back in the 24/7 Everquest raid target days. I did get into the Internet for all the wrong reasons back then. Bad time in marriage, bad time with kids, lonely, looking for a safe haven and I found one. I could not be pried away from the computer. It was pretty much the only thing I did after work and sometimes before.
Now? I still am online often. I still do the same things I did before but I also do other things. I have a real life as well as an online life!! I can leave a game now with no second thoughts. If I have to go, I go. Am I still and addict? Probably in some peoples' minds I am but in my mind the Internet gives me a place to socialize without leaving the house. It gives me a way to reach out to people all over my country as well as other countries. I have met people, online and in person I never would have met before. I feel my life is enriched by my Internet experiences.
Anyway, if I am and addict, I am in the company of some very nice addicts!!
The Time article was written by Jessie Jiang.