THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
Psychologists are not even sure yet what to call this phenomenon. Some label it an "Internet Addiction Disorder." But many people are addicted to their computers long before the internet enters their lives. Some people are extremely attached to their computer and don't even care about the internet. Perhaps we should call the phenomenon a "Computer Addiction." Also, let's not forget the very powerful, but now seemingly mundane and almost accepted addiction that some people develop to videogames. Video games are computers too... very single-minded computers, but computers nevertheless. Or how about telephones? People get addicted to those too, and not just the sex lines. Like computers, telephones are a technologically enhanced form of communication and may fall into the category of "computer mediated communication" (aka, CMC) - as there searchers are dubbing internet activities. In the not too distant future, computer, telephone, and video technology may very well merge into one, perhaps highly addictive, beast.
Perhaps, on a broad level, it makes sense to talk about a "Cyberspace Addiction" - an addiction to virtual realms of experience created through computer engineering. Within this broad category, there may be subtypes with distinct differences. A teenager who play shooky from school in order to master the next level of Donkey Kong may be a very different person than the middle aged housewife who spends $500 a month in AOL chat rooms - who in turn may be very different from the businessman who can't tear himself away from his finance programs and continuous internet access to stock quotes. Some cyberspace addictions are game and competition oriented, some fulfill more social needs, some simply may be an extension of workaholics. Then again, these differences may be superficial. Not many people are waving their fingers and fists in the air about video and work addictions.
Computer technology has a deep impact on...