Lately there’s been a big fuss in the psychology/psychiatry community regarding internet addiction.  Today I read an article on Wired about it.  It struck me as particularly odd is that the only studies mentioned in the article — really a stub — were from Korea and China, respectively.  Though a commenter mentioned that you can be exempted from military service in Finland for being an internet addict, I am kind of curious about what the presence of Korean and Chinese studies say about the use of technology in those countries.

What’s more, Wikipedia points out that people who are proponents of getting internet addiction added to DSM-V subdivide it into several categories.  I’m afraid I fall into the “inappropriate involvement in online social networking or blogging” category.  I am curious how many people might fall into each category in different parts of the world.  I already know that China views bloggers as trouble for the Party, so that might be a part of why the Chinese are pushing for internet addiction to be viewed as a serious disorder.  After all, if they’re mentally ill, that’s a great way to discredit the things that they say and think.  I wonder if there is some level of paranoia about the potential of the internet as an emerging tool underlying this push for legitimization of the diagnosis.

One thing that all this pathological internet use hullabaloo ignores is the fact that there are innovative people out there using the internet — especially the gaming and social networking categories — for social causes, whether they be education, community-building, organizing for social change, or what have you.  Or maybe I’m just trying to deny my own addiction…I do want a Ph.D. in information science, after all…

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