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A New Disorder is Born

The 7 o'clock News

If someone dies while watching TV, that is not newsworthy. If someone dies on a golf course, you can bet that you won't see it on the 7 o'clock news. But every time someone dies when they're playing online games, it will be all over the news. We treat the Internet and online gaming as if no other media forms or leisure activities exist. On average, people watch 25-30 hours of TV a week, yet we seldom question whether people watch too much TV these days. But is that because TV has become a socially acceptable “addiction” that everyone is guilty of?

In a more recent paper, Young devotes several pages to the online affair as a common dangerous consequence of internet “addiction" (2004 - need academic access). It were as if affairs are somehow one of the defining reasons why the Internet is dangerous. But it is clear that affairs happen in the real world too. People have affairs at work, while playing golf, and while shopping at the mall. Young states that “at an alarming rate, once long-term and stable marriages are destroyed by a cyberaffair”. I would like to point out that long-term and stable marriages are destroyed by affairs, period. Just because they are more likely to occur now over the internet rather than over the phone or over written letters is simply a shift in communication modality. Besides, do we really know how many marriages are ruined by affairs carried out via traditional means (telephone, mail, water coolers at work, the gym, etc.)? Do we know whether people are simply having more affairs regardless of communication modality? To argue that the internet is to blame for cyberaffairs is akin to blaming kleptomania on shopping malls.

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Posted on January 3, 2006 | Comments (44) | TrackBack (0)

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