Internet addiction may seem funny. It is even the subject of many jokes. But even though it seems trivial to many, for some people it can cause as much trouble as heroin, and other drugs. It can even cause serious illness, and death.
For those of you who don’t believe that Internet addiction can kill, read the rest of this. Chinese officials reported today that a man died after a three-day non-stop gaming binge at a Beijing Internet cafe. The 30-year-old man was rushed to the hospital after passing out during the 3 day marathon and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Authorities say the cause of death was most likely exhaustion.
The man’s death is part of a disturbing trend amongst gamers who are playing online until it kills them. In 2005, a 28-year-old South Korean man died of exhaustion after a 50-hour marathon gaming session in an Internet cafe. The South Korean man, identified only as Lee, spent 50 straight hours playing the game ‘Starcraft’ in an Internet cafe, pausing only to use the toilet and brief naps. Lee had eaten next to nothing in that time, and was physically exhausted. “We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion,” a Taegu provincial police official told the Reuters news agency. And in 2002, a 24-year-old South Korean man died after 86 hours of online gaming, while that same year, a 27-year-old Taiwanese man died after 32 hours of Internet gaming.
The Internet is not the enemy just because people become dependent on it. It has many important and necessary benefits. It is a fast way to get information, more ecologically sound than newspapers and magazines, convenient, and informative. In many ways it makes our lives much simpler. The Internet provides an escape from reality and everyday problems just like alcohol or drugs. Some would argue that interaction with other people on the Internet fills a social void. So the Internet can be a really good thing.
However, it becomes a problem when people become so engrossed and enmeshed in on-line activities, and their “other” lives to the point of neglecting their health, relationships, jobs, and other responsibilities. As with many of life’s pleasures, moderation is the key.
Does someone you love show signs of internet addiction such as:
* Preoccupation with the Internet. (Thoughts about previous on-line activity or anticipation of the next on-line session.)
* Use of the Internet in increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction.
* Repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use.
* Feelings of restlessness, moodiness, depression or irritability when attempting to cut down use of the Internet.
* On-line longer than originally intended.
* Jeopardized or risked loss of significant relationships, job, educational or career opportunities because of Internet use.
* Lies to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet.
* Use of the Internet as a way to escape from problems or to relieve a dysphoric mood. (e.g., feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, depression.)
If this is the case seek help before it is too late.
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