2006-01-23

My name is Carlos and I have a problem...

Internet Addiction, by Ahumada

Shrinks came up with a new buzzword: internet addiction disorder. Well, isn't it a bit too late? Who isn't addicted to it nowadays?

It turns out that our brain releases dopamine when we get new mail... so it feels good, and we want more, and more, and MORE!!! ...until we can't live without it... and we feel depressed if we don't have our fix.

But then, everything that brings pleasure potentailly can also cause addiction, doesn't it? I mean, I am cleary addicted to my wife, to tasty food, etc. The question is: when does an addiction/dependency become a social problem?

I mean, food addiction certainly poses a serious health problem in certain McCountries, but nobody would dream of prohibiting food. Then, could campaings against excesses in food, Internet, pornography, etc., be used against drugs? I know they are not at the same level, with the argument that these addictions do not affect the mental faculties of people... but on the other hand alcohol does affect it, and it's legal...

And then there's also the quesiton of "freedom of choice" (it's my life and I do what I want with it, why do you put limits to my life?)... With drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, it is clear that the limits are set because of the potential danger to fellow citizens posed by drug users. But how can Internet addiction affect fellow citizens? It certainly can affect performance at work and destroy personal relationships (what are you doing checking google news instead of speaking tenderly to your loved one?!), but what could the state do about this? Because certainly you can't just forbid or limit Internet use! The same you cannot set sex limits, even when this may affect performance at work, health problems, whatever... The same with food...

It's a complex question... Possible solution: education... and of course marketing and savage captialism don't help in here. All sources of pleasure are a potential market niche, since people will be willing to pay for them. And then, for companies exploiting the pleasures of people all excesses will be admissible... It is only through education that people can resist to such manipulations. Every one of us needs to learn when to say "stop! I've had enough..."

Read more at news.independent.co.uk/...

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