Sunday, May 22, 2016

Internet addiction started to get treated in the US (as well as South Korea and China)

On Saturday, May 21, the Washington Post featured a front page story by Hayley Tsukayama, “Struggling to look away from the screen: Parents, experts worry about compulsive Web use among young people – but is this addiction?”.  Online, the title is more telling (like the answer to a “My Weekly Reader” test in grade school), “The dark side of the Internet is costing young people their jobs and their social lives”.

 The story relates a treatment center in Washington state – not covered by insurance in the US because it’s not recognized as a mental disorder officially.  It is treated more aggressively in South Korea.

Gamers seem to have the biggest problems.  The treatment centers seem to offer life “off the grid” and a lot of tough love.  Even fantasy material, like comics, isn’t allowed sometimes;  they want people to relate to “real people”.  I wondered if model trains or toys were allowed.  All of this reminds me of what my own mother once called "baby play" one summer in Ohio.  I thought about a couple of intentional communities I have visited.

In my own circumstances, staying connected is important, because I need to maintain what I put online and need pretty much continual access to it, even when I travel.  I can see how that could become a policy or legal issue in the future. I can't afford a vacation or overseas service experience "off the grid".

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