While the public and congress are focused on the vicious condition of opioid addiction, another scourge has taken root in our society especially among young people ages 13 to 25: Internet Disorders.
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) formally classified “Gaming Disorder” as an addiction last June, placing it with drugs, alcohol, and gambling as a virulent scourge.
But dopey games are just part of the overall problem. Addiction to devices and machines can destroy human potential in a variety of ways.
Teenagers are at the greatest risk even though their parents can easily become addicted as well. The family that texts together has replaced the family that prays together.
Let’s get very specific. Most teens cannot function without their iPhone. Their entire social world is built around them. No longer do kids call each other, it’s Snapchat and texting – especially Snapchat where they can send pictures with their words. Incredibly, email is obsolete in urchin-land. Everybody is snapping and chatting.
The result is no voice or in person contact. Talk to a teenager face-to-face and it’s very likely the kid will not look you in the eye. They look down. Like they do when snap chatting.
Witty conversation? Forget it. Here’s a typical lead sentence on a device: U there, dude? LOL. LMAO.
If you don’t know what that means – good for you.
So, the art of conversation has been largely destroyed. Along with that, personal empathy is declining. You can’t feel a person’s pain or joy for that matter through a machine.
Then there’s the ability to concentrate. Killing the SS is a huge hit but one of the few books that is actually selling in America. Young people don’t want to break away from their devices to devote time to a book or even a TV show. It’s much easier to google anything and absorb information in 60 seconds or less.
Why watch a scheduled show when there are a million clips on YouTube available 24/7? Do you know any young American that consistently watches a news program? I don’t. Headlines are available on the net and that’s what the kids want; quick, short dispatches that don’t take time away from Snapchatting.
And then there are the games. Fortnite is big. But ask a kid what the word “fortnite” means and you’ll get a blank look.
Fantasy football is huge. Minecraft used to be the rage. And you can shoot video zombies all day long without being arrested.
All in all it is a bleak landscape. When I was a kid we were outside on the ball fields. Everyday. Weather did not stop us.
Now young backsides are parked on computer chairs or couches. The outdoors is almost inconceivable. Nothing out there. Can’t charge the phone in the forest.
Internet addiction is changing the world and not for the better. Human beings that resist the pull of the machines and strive to become well rounded people will prosper greatly in the future. But, sadly, most people will not resist internet addiction.
And they will suffer the consequences.