The Problem and Its Settings

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Chapter I: The Problem and its Settings

“You do anything long enough to escape the habit of
living until the escape becomes the habit.”
~ David Ryan

Introduction

Internet and online game addiction, sometimes referred to as cyberspace addiction or online addiction, can manifest itself in many ways in today's teens. If your daughter/son/sister/brother just spent an entire beautiful weekend updating his/her page on Facebook, playing online games on Y8, playing Vice City, battling on WarCraft foregoing a trip with the family to an amusement park or mall, he/she may be showing signs of addiction. The Internet is a seductive place, especially for today's linked-in teens who are far more likely to add graffiti to their friend's Facebook wall than they are to actually get on their bicycle and ride over to that same friend's house. You have to admit it would be a challenge to connect face-to-face with someone you've never met in person and who lives in a different time zone. Therein lies the problem. The Internet is perfect for teens. Today's social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter let them represent themselves as whomever, or whatever, they want. Everything is edited by them, chosen specifically to present the face they want the world to see. And if they decide to change that face, then they just delete some pictures, add some new friends, and voila! - new person! Experts say that as many as 10 percent of Internet users may be considered addicted, although some mental health professionals balk at using that term in a clinical sense. They argue that an activity can only be addictive when it causes a certain type of chemical reaction in the brain, and that's hard to determine. But when you're arguing with a teen about the amount of time she's spending online and she just can't get her paper done because her Instant Messenger keeps alerting her something new and exciting is happening with her best friend, then call it what you like, it's a...
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