Monday, December 11

New Addictions For The Computer Age

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The majority of the time when people say or think of the word “addiction” most people either think of drugs, gambling, or sex; however, a wave of new addictions are rising in today’s society. However, the debate continues as to if these new age addictions are just overindulgence, true clinical addiction, or just obsessive habits. However, some of the new addictions that are rising in today’s society are such things as tanning beds, cell phones, internet, and video games.

According to the American Psychological Association (2010), “Students who used tanning facilities frequently had slightly higher levels of anxiety symptoms, as well as higher rates of alcohol and marijuana use, according to the study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the State University of New York, Albany” (para 3).  Tanning beds have become such a much needed item that a person can even find them in rural communities now and even in convenience stores.  Are tanning beds such a necessity that they have to be so accessible, especially knowing that tanning beds can raise a person’s chance of melanoma and other skin diseases. However, cell phones are also becoming something that is considered an addiction.

According to the APA, teenagers send over a 100 texts a day on their cell phone.  Additionally, on any given day a person can walk down the street and see the majority of adults and teenagers on their cell phone.  Many people say he or she could not exist without his or her cell phone.  In Spain, people are even being admitted to mental hospitals for addictions to cell phones.  What would people, especially teenagers, do without his or her cell phone?  Another new addiction is the internet.

The internet is a valuable took in which people can find information, join social groups, get education, and many other things; however, the internet is taking over some people’s lives. The Computer Addiction Study Center at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital has found that 5-10% of the population has internet dependency.  Many people forget all other aspects of his or her life for time on the internet, which has included valuable family time or other responsibilities. Fall City, Washington as even opened up a detox center for internet addicts.  Additionally, video games, especially among children and teenagers, have become another new computer age addiction.

According to the APA (2010), “Gamers who played 24 hours per week were more likely to have trouble paying attention in school, poorer grades and more health problems than those who played fewer hours (para. 7). There are so many children, teenagers, and adults that come in from school or work and the first thing he or she does is get on video or computer games and stay playing games for many hours.  Some children never go outside due to staying in front of video games all day.  This is not good developmental behavior for children or teenagers. There is more to life than sitting behind a television set or computer and playing games.  This does not promote social, communication, or learning skills that are much needed.  Additionally, if a child or teenager sits in front of a game all day and night, there is no physical activity involved, which can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Our society is now moving into an era of different types of addictions.  It is hard for a person to think of tanning beds, cell phones, internet, or video games as an addiction; however, if you stop and think about it, these items are taking over lives and interrupting a valuable item, the family structure.  How many evenings does your family spend together?  The typical family evening now is children on the video games, computer, or cell phone and parents usually on the computer.  These items can definitely take over and disrupt a person’s responsibilities or a family’s valuable time.

References

American Psychological Association. (2010). Addictions. Retrieved July 13, 2010

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