Tuesday, April 24, 2007

University Observer

Got featured in the University Observer today, really cool to see your writing in print for once!

Problems with Internet addiction are beginning to appear in many western countries, but nowhere are they more apparent than in Asia.
Great changes are being brought into place on that continent to remedy the problems that that Internet users are experiencing with dependency and addiction to the Internet. A prime example of this extreme Internet usage is the case of 24 year old Kim Kyung Jae.
During the Chinese new year celebrations, Kyung Jae collapsed and died after having playing online games at the Internet café in the South Western City of Kwangiu for an incredible 86 hours without a break.
Another shocking example of the power of the Internet and online gaming over human logic is presented in the case of a Korean couple who left their 4 month old baby at home alone for more than a day to go to the local Internet café and play the online game “World of Warcraft”.
The couple commented “We were thinking of playing for just an hour or two and returning home like usual, but the game took longer that day.”
As a response to these new problems the Chinese government have established close to 30 treatment therapy centers which are run throughout the state. In an almost military like fashion, patients are woken at 6:30am and put through a strict exercise and social inclusion regime.
Some observers may call it extreme, but the Chinese government are confident that this somewhat shocking system will stem the growing problem and put an end to the problems surrounding this form of addiction.
Although things in Ireland have not quite reached these levels of severity, it is undeniable that we are becoming much more dependent on the Internet, and detrimental effects are starting to be noticed.
Matthias Glowatz a UCD lecturer specialising in the area of IT and the Internet, suggests that “we are a nation becoming more dependant and as a result addicted to the Internet”,
A quick walk past the Daedalus center or any study area on campus, packed with web surfers, proves the point that some people just want to be online as often as possible, wherever they can.
Increasingly students are getting access to the web wherever they go, the increased prevalence of laptop computers among students has brought the world wide web to the classroom, bringing with it a whole new set of distractions but also opportunities.
Dominick Sherlock an instructor of MIS in the Quinn school of business, suggests that
"The laptops are obviously a great resource for students and have revolutionised the way that students interact with each other and with the University. They are potentially a powerful tool for learning and entertainment.
However, with power comes responsibility and there is a temptation for students to get distracted by the wide range of channels through which they can communicate with others and find amusing content”.
However as the exams loom in the not so distant future, and brows begin to sweat, the problem of Internet overuse on campus becomes all to apparent, queues of students waiting for a computer to finish off that end of term assignment or essay, being held up by people that feel it necessary to check their bebo/Myspace etc with furious regularity. One of the suggestions to stop this inappropriate usage of college resources is to block these sites which are causing the problems.
“In principle I don't think [a ban] would be in keeping with the ethos of having the world at your fingertips, which is what students basically have here - be that through traditional print media or through new media” says Sherlock
The problem of Internet overuse doesn’t attract much media attention, and most students are unaware that such problems exist. Even the concept of being “addicted” to the Internet is quite hard to grasp, one first year arts student at UCD offers his perspective on the issue “Its hard to assess what would be classed as addiction, if you're asking if people use the internet or stay online to the point where its unhealthy then yes, there is a problem”.
“There is also a trend among students I know who live at home towards gambling for real money online. The time they spend gambling online is considerable and the Internet culture is fuelling this trend.” Said another student.
And although frequent browsing of the Internet is acceptable at university, and you may be able to get away with it in a lecture hall, the same situation won’t be afforded to you once you have left college and entered the workforce.
UCD graduate and Managing Director of Fortify services, a careers consultancy company, Rowan Manahan, says “I have met many employers who picked a person who was violating those rules and "made an example of them."
So if the Asian horror stories won’t put you off checking your bebo ten times a day, maybe the prospect of losing your job will


Rowan Manahan said...


Jamie said...


Hugo said...

that site is a David O'Doherty joke! i cant believe that.

College Resources said...

There is no reason to block some sites if what they're offering will be a big use and help for students.