Saturday, November 17, 2007

Internet Boot Camp

How many hours do you spend online each day?

I came across this article today while browsing nytimes.com, about an Internet Boot Camp in South Korea designed to break young South Koreans of their Internet addictions. One of the kids interviewed thought it completely normal to be online for as many as 17 hours a day! The article says that South Korea has been one of the "leaders" in making the Internet readily accessible; most of its citizens connect to cheap, high-speed broadband and, therefore, have easy-access to the virtual world. It also says that Internet addiction is being diagnosed on a regular basis as a mental condition, and not just in South Korea. American psychiatrists are seeing some of the same symptoms in American youth and adults.

While not surprising - human beings in every culture struggle with addictions of various kinds - it is somewhat sobering. Even the Internet, a vast resource of information, connection and communication, is no substitute for the real thing. A virtual life, to the extent it excludes "real" or tangible life, is just that: virtual. Close to the real thing, but missing something.

9 comments:

Joel said...

*cough*

Hi... my names Joel Ruberg... and uh... I am a recovering Internet addict... i was sober until... 5 minutes ago when I decided to write this comment. *sigh* wow. i really needed to get that off my chest. *cries*

LynnaeEtta said...

feel better? :)

Joel said...

haha. yeah.

mary ann said...

must be rough to have family members not take your posts seriously...

LynnaeEtta said...

on the contrary, I rather like it. :)

Steve Ruberg said...

The same things were said about TV in the 60's and 70's. But the internet, PC games, PC homework, and video games along with the old fashioned TV is now taking a real toll in the form of increased obesity leading to all kinds of health problems.

Its very strange for me to drive through subdivisions and not see children playing outside. Its just very disturbing to me. I mean keeping an open mind, maybe all this machine bending will have some long term benefit like making us able to sit through years of space travel to far away places. But - we were made to run and jump and play - it can't be good.

LynnaeEtta said...

I totally agree! We were made to run and jump and play; none of this sitting in front of screens for hours upon hours.

Joel said...

ok. I agree that running and jumping are better for us. But playing is what we do when we sit in front of these screens. and it's hard to find people to actually run and jump and play with sometimes. I've tried to organize games of flashlight tag before, and either A) everyone's too busy, or B) people would rather do something else. and i think its very possible to maintain a healthy balance (not saying i do the best job of that). And it's an escape from the real world. The world sucks sometimes. and whats more fun than being the guy who saves it? (Halo, Star Wars games, Splinter Cell) thats why i like them.

LynnaeEtta said...

I agree that sitting in front of some screens involves playing (Internet/game systems), and I think that's an acceptable way to play. And, you're right, it's a way of escaping the real world, which can be a relief sometimes. But I think the joy of running and jumping is that it allows play to happen without escaping from the real world, which just seems more whole and good to me.

But that doesn't mean I don't escape on a regular basis. It just means I wish I didn't as often as I do.