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Computer Addiction

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Addiction - "a habit so strong that one cannot give it up." We are all aware that people form addictions to many things, from cocaine to gambling. References to alcoholism, workaholism, even chocoholism, are commonplace throughout our society. The idea that people can form addictions to computing is a relatively new one, but quickly gaining ground. Perhaps some day the word "netaholism" will be as widely-used as the others; being a "user" may have more connotation than we realize.

Our purpose is to present you with existing problem. As this university is concerned with informatics, computing, so we believe this information will be useful.


The cold war and academia were the parents of the modern computer age. It was the Pentagon, in the late 1960's, that funded research and development of computers and the prototype of the Internet at universities around the country. Academics understood the value of sharing the information that was stored on separate computers at different university sites. In 1972, e-mail was invented to assist communications among these researchers and developers. Fairly quickly, others understood the commercial implications of what was developing.

The personal computer, or PC, allowed more people access to the early Internet from their homes. The early Internet and computer software generally however, was not particularly "user friendly". Computers could only "talk" to a limited number of other computers that were linked on the same network, running on the same programs.

The advent of a program in the early '90's, which allowed computers anywhere to communicate with each other, ushered in "the world wide web" or WWW. Now all the computers on the Internet could have an address and use a common language. Once a user-friendly browser system was developed, allowing people to sort through and find what they wanted on the Internet, the explosion in popularity of the Internet occurred. Now, anyone who could read or write, had a computer, and was connected to the Internet could use it with relative ease. In 1997, it was estimated that 50 million people in the U.S. used the Internet. By now, the number has increased to over 150 million.

Shotton (1989) coined the term in her book Computer Addiction. After searching the literature about alcoholism, gambling and other addictive behaviors, Shotton decided that she was witnessing computer addiction in a very specialized group of men who were developing hardware and software for computers. According to Shotton, these men were completely focused on their activities in the laboratory to the point of neglecting both family and friends.

Who suffers from it?

Computer addiction is shared by the young and the old, the meek and the bold. "Now the addiction strikes women as often as men, young students as frequently as retirees, and folks of all intellectual levels." As media like the Web make it ever easier to access the Internet, it becomes less and less necessary to understand computer technology in order to become obsessed with computers. Different groups of people are inclined to be afflicted with different kinds of addictions, but there are plenty to go around.


* Using the computer for pleasure, gratification, or relief from stress.

* Feeling irritable and out of control or depressed when not using it.

* Spending increasing amounts of time and money on hardware, software, magazines, and computer-related activities.

* Fantasy life on-line replaces emotional life with partner.

* Electronic communications like email, IRC and other applications for chatting.

* Neglecting work, school, or family obligations.

* Falling asleep in school.

* Lying about the amount of time spent on computer activities.

* Dropping out of other social groups (clubs or sports).

* Risking loss of career goals, educational objectives, and personal relationships.

* Failing at repeated efforts to control computer use.

* Online gambling, hacking, obsessed online shopping.

* Skipping meals, repetitive stress injuries, backaches, dry eyes, headaches, and loss of sleep.

For adults:

You can hide your appearance on the net, assume alternate personas and genders, and generally feel far less inhibited than in face-to-face interactions. People who have difficulty with live interactions are most likely to become dependent on these forms of electronic communication. They are offered the illusion of social relationships free of pain and discomfort, which raises their self-confidence so that they no longer feel complete without computer interaction and their on-line personalities




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