Internet has played a great role in people’s lives for the past…for how many years? Around 10 years I supposed, for those who have access to it in Malaysia. Originally, we use it to search whatever form of information that we needed, and share our little news over a form of mail known as e-mail that is slowly undermining the function of snail mail.
How many of us over here still keep in touch with friends oversea via snail mail? I dare say none, well, at least I haven’t been doing so. I no longer keep in touch with friends in oversea through snail mail. I no longer anticipate the fat letters that is full of personal touch inside my mailbox, and I no longer look at my mailbox longingly for some exotic postcards or souvenirs from my pen pals across the globe. I no longer write fast by using a pen the way I did when I was still in high school. (I can type fast, though)
Over the years, Internet has been rapidly develop, I must say. Evolving from dial up connection to broadband, and Internet is far more accessible and affordable with the competition that is going on among the service providers. The function of Internet is no longer for basic communication and a tool to search for information. It’s widely and creatively used in many areas. It’s used in commerce and banking, a place for spreading news and rumours, as well as field for politicians to spread their agenda and slam each other silly. Internet is even used to watch Asian soap dramas or new blockbuster movies online. Internet, is also pornography galore.
No one can deny that Internet has played a great role in their daily lives, be it directly or indirectly. It definitely make communication easier, cheaper and more efficient, however, there’s a worrying trend, where Internet seems to take control of human thinking and behaviour. Checking emails, online newspaper, blogs, etc. is becoming one’s cuppa tea or rather, ecstasy and cannabis. If you don’t do it in one day, you may feel agitated. Internet started to invade our personal lives, and sometimes we get into trouble with our spouses who do not share the same interest of ‘going online’ with us.
Another worrying trend is addiction not only to internet, but online games as well. Studies shown that there are many youth who are addicted to online games and gets ‘too’ involved with it until it effect their lives and and slowly undermining their academical achievements.
I was involved in an online game once, and suffice to say that I was addicted to the game. It’s called MapleStory. At first, I just play one or two hour just to stress out by beating monsters and gain satisfaction by completing quests. But slowly, the time that I spend in-game started to increase gradually as I found friends who I can relate well with. Let me be really honest with all of you, ‘Cleffairy’ is actually the name of my first in game Maple character. I got used to people calling me Clef or fairy, and when I started a blog, I just continue to use the name.
I used to spend at least 10 hours playing the bloody game. I got addicted to it to quite a dangerous extent, where I spend real money to buy in-game items, which, thinking back, it’s really not worth a single cent to spent on. You may say that I am stupid to spend on such things, but I really could not help it, and I don’t even know why.
While I was struggling with my addiction, I learn that life in-game is not much different than the real life. The society in the game are similar to our very own real life. There are dirty politics and war against one another. The chase and hunger for power is endless. Competitiveness to outdo one another’s level sometimes gets pretty insane and ridiculous, where a player sometimes are willing to sacrifice their sleep and skip meals just to get ahead of another player. Some even cheat for MC just to play game. The worst case I’ve seen must be the confession of a former nurse who quit her job so that she can play the game.
I know a person who can play at least 18 hours non-stop without doing anything else. Impossible, you say? Well, if I was not involved in that bloody game, I’d say, it’s impossible, but that is the crazy truth. It is possible for some people. Games had become part of their lives very much that it’s made possible for them to be rooted in front of the pc for such a long hours. They are convinced that games is their life. They feel accepted and powerful by doing so.
Most of them formed a society in-game and was convinced that everything that is done in-game is real. Some games even allow you to get married online, and pathetically, they think that it’s real. Every now and then, in ‘secluded’ area/map in game, I would stumble across ‘couples’ who are busy having cybersex. It’s funny, but disgusting nevertheless.
This is actually an unhealthy trend. Such addiction does not only affect teenagers who are still in school, but also working adults who want to escape reality and depression but entrapped in virtual reality where life in there is almost equally bad and does not differ much from reality. The only thing that makes a difference in game is that it’s more colourful and people(players) are much more acceptive of you as you share the same interest with them.
The addiction is almost like being addict to cigarette, you simply have to have it. It’s simply hard to kick the habit once you’re addicted to it.
Here’s 20 ways on how to recognize that you’re addicted to online games/Internet at a very unhealthy level that I know off. Please feel free to share your way to recognize Internet/Online games addiction with me.
1. Using online services everyday without fail.
2. Losing track of time after making a connection.
3. Going out for recreational purposes less and less. You even shop online for things that can be obtain offline. (Like getting a pizza to be delivered to you by logging on to the pizza restaurant site and place your orders online)
4. Spending less and less time on meals together at the dining table at home with family, instead, you opt to eat in front of the monitor.
5. Denying spending too much time on the Net, and your intercommunication skill in real life decline badly. You have the tendency to be rude too.
6. Others are complaining that you spend too much time in front of the monitor.
7. Checking on your mailbox too many times a day while it’s not completely necessary to do so.
8. Thinking you have the greatest website in the world and dying to give people your URL. You also can’t help boasting on how great or pretty you are over the Internet and pine for admiration. In worst case scenario, you spend filthy amount of money just to advertise yourself on various medium so that you can gain fame and glory.
9. Logging onto the Net while already busy at work.
10. Sneaking online when spouse or family members are not at home, with a sense of relief.
11. Bad personal hygiene.
12. You started to have eating disorder as your diet is all screw up because you stop eating right.
13. You lack sleep because every now and then, you tend to lurk on the net til the wee hour.
14. You have the urge to say LOL, LMAO, OMG, WTF in your daily conversation.
15. You started to communicate and spend less time with family and friends, and they are quite unhappy with you.
16. Your eyes started to get blur, and for those who are already wearing specs and contacts, the power increases.
17. You’re no longer in shape because you are too lazy to make an effort to exercise. The only exercise you do these days are your fingers and wrists by typing on the keyboard.
18. You are armed with laptop or any other gadget that will enable you to go online where ever you go, because you simply feel that you cannot afford to loose connection with the Internet and whatever you do online.
19. You even look for hotspot and WIFI acess point when you have a drink or eat outside.
20. You proudly admit that you cannot live without Internet and you started to neglect your family because of Internet.
Addiction for Internet and online games are now considered at a serious level where it’s classified as a psychological and clinical problems in many developing countries. I know in Malaysia that this sort of addiction is also affecting a lot of people, however, no one make a fuss out of it or try to help those who are badly addicted to games until it’s affecting their daily lives.
People who are addicted to such things are labeled geek and shunned in real life just because they do not mix around well or simply too shy to make friends. While some really have no social life and turn to Internet for comfort, a good majority of others actually have a life and large social circle of friends, and yet could not get out of the addiction because no one is encouraging them to do so.
There are no support group in Malaysia for those who are struggling with Internet addiction. They wanted to stay away or reduce the time that they spend online, but simply cannot help but to login and play the online games or face the world wide web, just because they are used to login in and make contact with the people in game/Internet. Why the hell is no one in Malaysia is acknowledging that extreme addiction to Internet and online games is some sort of psychological disorder when in actual fact, the addiction is consuming and effecting people’s lives badly?
While it is easier to communicate and spill our heart’s content to unknown strangers over the net, I truly believe that real people in our life are much more important. Internet has played an huge and important role in my life, I cannot possibly deny that.
I realize that even after I stop being an addict to online games, I still cannot stop from being addicted to Internet, because in general, my life and work is quite digitalized. My bloody work is inside my pc, my contacts are even recorded inside, and even my personal pictures and journals are kept in the pc.
I am not saying that Internet is absolute evil. I have a lot of online friends, and I made them ‘real’ by meeting up with them once I get to know them very well. Some of ‘brother’ and ‘sisters’ who constantly bug me in my blog is actually from the bloody game itself. We used to play very hard, but luckily, not anymore, we only keep in touch via sms. Good things do come out from Internet, but we have to make sure that we are in control of Internet, and never allow the Internet to put a leash around our neck.
Over the weekend, I tried to keep my online activities to the minimal as I wish to spend more time with my other half and my family. I want to improve my relationship with the people around me, even though I know that Internet is the cheapest way to spend the weekend. Trying to keep away from the Internet is hard, but with the help and support of spouse and family who spend quality time with you definitely made it easier.
I know it’s not possible to cut online connection, as Internet has played a very important role in our daily lives. But what I want to say today is, try to lessen your online activities and appreciate the ones around you. They may not voice out their displeasure at whatever your online hobby is, but I am sure that they are slightly wounded when you brush them aside softly to continue doing whatever you are doing online. Start spending more time with people around you before they slowly drift apart from, and when you finally realize it, it’s already too late.
Cleffairy: In an era where technology plays a very important role in our lives, we tend to take things for granted and totally depend on technology for whatever we do. But we must remember that by depending too much on technology, we are slowly becoming less ‘human’. It’s best not to overindulge and have balance in whatever we do. I have a question that I hope you all can answer honestly…will you be ‘paralyzed’ if you reduce the time you spend online?