Tue, May 22, 2012
Have you ever considered that maybe you spend a little too much time staring at screens?
We are constantly informed about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and yet most of us (including, in all probability, you right now) pass an unhealthy amount of time on the internet. Though we are growing more and more accustomed to technology these days, the notion of computer addiction is still a term that’s scorned by most and deeply worrying to the rest.
But how concerned should you be? At what stage does computer use become addiction? A large portion of the population uses computers to make a living, we arrange our social lives on them and turn to them for entertainment. Computers are a fantastic tool on which to get things done, and an even better one for procrastination.
We came across a list of the effects of excessive computer use on Wikipedia (since it’s such an inviolable source). They are as follows
• Lack of social interaction
• 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
• Neglecting work, school, or family obligations
• Lying about the amount of time spent on computer activities
• Risking loss of career goals, educational objectives, and personal relationships
• Failing at repeated efforts to control computer use
We can relate to most of these signifiers, and frankly we won’t be losing to much sleep over them. If, however you feel a genuine concern over this, there is also an online test for internet addiction (you can’t make this stuff up) find out how you score here.
There is an element of compulsion to computer games, especially if you game online. Blizzard is notorious for the popularity of their MMORPG World of WarCraft, as it blends socialising online with role play. Moving up through the levels becomes addictive, especially since you see such immediate results for your hard work. Blizzard has claimed millions of hours of lives in the name of entertainment, but how responsible are they for the effect their product has on their customer’s lives?
The extreme case often cited was Blizzard’s game StarCraft, which in 2005 claimed the life of a 28-year-old South Korean man. He was fired from his job for playing video games and after an intense 50-hour session in an all-night net café died of heart failure. As fans of this game our initial surprise and sympathy for the man was nevertheless quickly replaced with a rueful admiration [Speak for yourself – PC Site ed].
We don’t mean to denigrate the fact that you can spend a lot of time in front of a computer and achieve very little. Pursuits like chuckling at pictures of animals wearing hats and starting abstract conversations about pithy plot points are as fun to some as stamp collecting or model train sets are to others. Awareness that your life isn’t consumed by the trivial is a rule of living, not some great concern about the use of computers.
Our hearts go out to the parents desperately trying to get their teenagers off Facebook so that they’ll revise instead. Managing how you use technology is about as important as buying the right machine. You should know game developers factor in how addictive gameplay is when they design their wares. A curious mind has the outlet to learn just about anything on the internet, and it serves just as well as a resource for procrastination.
The fact is: a lot of us don’t live very disciplined lives, and it is important that you don’t waste away in front of a monitor, unless you’re getting paid for it.
Written by Karim Beerahee
Karim is a veteran writer at PC site, you'll be able to find him at product launches in London where he finds the latest and machines for review, published here...