Opinion: Internet addiction

POSTED: 09/27/11 1:19 PM

Forget smoking, drinking, sex and poker: there is another addiction on the up and coming. At least, if we believe what researchers in Germany found: half a million people in the country are addicted to the internet. Among 15-year-old girls, twenty percent is addicted. The national addiction percentage is obviously minuscule, not in the least because Germany has, since the re-unification, 81 million inhabitants. This means that the internet addiction has hit just 0.62 percent. If St. Maarten has the same level of addiction, depending on the assumed number of inhabitants (37,000 or 54,000), we are looking at between 229 and 335 addicts. Also, 0. 093 members of our parliament would fall in this category.

It is probably safe to say that internet addiction among teenagers is easily explained from social network-terrorism (we exaggerate a bit here). But what would be so interesting for others who are not hooked on Facebook and the befriending process? We once read that prison guards in Pointe Blanche manage to watch porn for hours, but because the source of this information is a bit biased if not suspect, we are unable to confirm that this is so.

Other sources of Internet addiction could be CNN, Fox, ESPN or for all we know the internet site of this newspaper (please go to todaysxm.com to get hooked).

The German researchers used three criteria to establish Internet addiction: excessive internet-use (we thought of that one ourselves), the inability to recognize the seriousness of the addiction, and the dependency on the Internet to escape from reality.

Especially the last one is interesting and it puts our mind at ease at bit – at least as far as local Internet addiction is concerned. That’s because we meet too many people who seem to be perpetual escapees from their own reality. They don’t need the Internet for the kick.

On the other hand, the German researchers found that many addicts experience little appreciation in their real life, and they have difficulties making friends, and they find their alternative satisfaction on the Internet – with real friends or with inflatable dolls.

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