Psychologists are not even sure yet what to call thisphenomenon. Some label it an "Internet Addiction Disorder." Butmany people are addicted to their computers long before theinternet enters their lives. Some people are extremely attached totheir computer and don't even care about the internet. Perhapswe should call the phenomenon a "Computer Addiction." Also,let's not forget the very powerful, but now seemingly mundaneand almost accepted addiction that some people develop to videogames. Video games are computers too... very single-mindedcomputers, but computers nevertheless. Or how abouttelephones? People get addicted to those too, and not just thesex lines. Like computers, telephones are a technologicallyenhanced form of communication and may fall into the category of "computer mediated communication" (aka, CMC) - as theresearchers are dubbing internet activities. In the not too distantfuture, computer, telephone, and video technology may very wellmerge into one, perhaps highly addictive, beast.
Perhaps, on a broad level, it makes sense to talk about a "CyberspaceAddiction" - an addiction to virtual realms of experience createdthrough computer engineering. Within this broad category, theremay be subtypes with distinct differences. A teenager who playshooky from school in order to master the next level of DonkeyKong may be a very different person than the middle agedhousewife who spends $500 a month in AOL chat rooms - who inturn may be very different from the businessman who can't tear himself away from his finance programs and continuous internetaccess to stock quotes.Some cyberspace addictions are game and competitionoriented, some fulfill more social needs, some simply may be anextension of workaholicism. Then again, these differences may besuperficial.Not many people are waving their fingers and fists in the air About video and work addictions. Not many newspaper articlesare written about these topics...