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Internet related psychiatric disorder


Sumir Sharma
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A study has been presented at 57th Annual National Conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society at Post Graduate Institute at Chandigarh. It is thesis of Dr. Sanjay Khanna, a neuro-psychiatrist.

He has researched that if the surfing become purposeless and urge to surf become uncontrollable then it is a problematic internet use and a psychiatrist disorder.

He has further found that such a disorder become compounded with other psychiatry illnesses and one of the such disorder is impulsivity. It is also found that such people surfs for porn sites more than the normal user.

He is quoted in The Tribune as follow:

“The finding have established that the incidence of the disorder is as high in India as that in the western countries, where the penetration of technology is much higher.”

On the web site of James Ford there are some such software for the ICT teachers, which can help in monitoring the access of the student to internet and intranet.

Are there similar studies in Europe and North America concerning disorders among students caused by excessive use of internet? What are the views of other members about such maladies? How far is this problem debated, tackled and pondered upon in case of ICT which definitely encourages students to log on to internet for their studies and exercises?

It is my opinion that it is true also in case of grown up, mature and highly over-occupied people. There tends to develop an addiction for some sites and surfing and generally a justification is found by giving some motive to it. Kindly take it just an issue which can be discussed and I place before the forum in the following manner.

There was a remark by one of the member when the Forum site went off the internet during the last week of December last year, the member really missed it. I myself tried to log in many a time fully knowing that it was not available. There were holidays and I had time at my disposal. In spite of knowing that it was not there, I tried to explore it.

I am just wondering after reading some of the postings in JFK section and such remarks that those on that section are really “weird” people, that what will happen if suddenly JFK case is stopped on this forum. What will be the result?

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Are there similar studies in Europe and North America concerning disorders among students caused by excessive use of internet? What are the views of other members about such maladies? How far is this problem debated, tackled and pondered upon in case of ICT which definitely encourages students to log on to internet for their studies and exercises?

It is my opinion that it is true also in case of grown up, mature and highly over-occupied people. There tends to develop an addiction for some sites and surfing and generally a justification is found by giving some motive to it. Kindly take it just an issue which can be discussed and I place before the forum in the following manner.

There was a remark by one of the member when the Forum site went off the internet during the last week of December last year, the member really missed it. I myself tried to log in many a time fully knowing that it was not available. There were holidays and I had time at my disposal. In spite of knowing that it was not there, I tried to explore it.

I am just wondering after reading some of the postings in JFK section and such remarks that those on that section are really “weird” people, that what will happen if suddenly JFK case is stopped on this forum. What will be the result?

Very interesting posting. Hopefully it will be the starting point of an interesting debate.

I personally spend most of my working life on a computer. I receive my income for producing content for the web. As well as writing on a computer, I spend much time searching for information via Google and asking questions on Forums like this one. I of course spend a lot of time reading books (most of them ordered via the web – Abe Books) but would find it difficult to cope as a historian without access to the web.

I also spent a lot of my leisure time on the web. This is partly because there is no clear demarcation line in my life between work and leisure (one philosopher once said that this only happens when you are living in Utopia). Also I seek information about my hobbies via the web. I also spend time communicating with friends via emails and forums.

Am I addicted? Maybe. I definitely get withdrawal symptoms when I am denied access to the web. Therefore, on holiday, I need to search out a local Internet Café every few days. This is mainly to check on my emails and this forum (I am one of only two active administrators).

However, I get withdrawal symptoms from anything I enjoy doing. That surely is human nature and will always be the case. This seems to be very different from someone who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling, etc. This form of addiction is harmful to the individual (and friends and family).

That is not to say that people are not harmed by spending too much time on the web. It is clear that some people who have difficulty with social interaction retreat to the world of the web. Even in cases like this, the web can help to solve this problem (a very lonely woman friend with inter-personal problems has recently started a loving relationship with a like-minded make who she met via the web).

I am someone who has little difficulty making friends. I enjoy social-interaction with real people (in fact you could say I was addicted to this behaviour). However, some of my best friendships have been started via the web. This has resulted in social-interaction. Mind you, because of the web, I have some friends who I have never met.

I believe the web is an excellent place to make friends. The main reason is that it is possible to put you in contact with people who share the same interests. For example, I am a member of two clubs that I attend on a weekly basis. I enjoy this experience but the quality of verbal interaction is lower in the club than on this forum. I find forums like this intellectually stimulating and would find it a painful experience to give it up. Therefore, I suppose you could describe me as a happy addict.

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It's an interesting subject. As I've said before, I am mildly addicted to the TES staffroom site, although I read rather more than I post.

What I find interesting there, is that there has developed a sort of clique of posters who are considered by many others (and themselves) to be the "leaders" or head boys/girls of the site because they've been there longest and shouted loudest, and whose opinions carry more weight than others, even when what they have to say is not particularly erudite or profound.

I suppose it's no different from the playground, as it results in bullying, factions and misinterprations of intent. Accusations of "trolling" are becoming more common, as well as the use of multiple log-in names and subsequent game-playing of pretending to be someone else.

I also find it interesting that some people can get more upset and hurt by cyber colleagues than they probably would in real life. Perhaps addictive personalities are also more susceptible to criticism?

This forum and the TES site are quite different in character in the Educational Issues threads, but probably more similar to the JFK threads in some of the senses I've mentioned above. I don't read these at length but can pick up on the angst from just the topic headings.

Nowt so queer as folk, as my Yorkshire mother is always reminding me.

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Sherry Turkle's book Life on the Screen, which is reviewed here deals with the personality aspects of online activities. In particular she raises the question of the unity of the ego. In effect she argues for a different interpretation of Freud in which the personality is not seen as one unified entity but as a number of entities.

On the internet this is rendered explicit with people having a number of different personas which enable them to explore alternative aspects of themselves, including different gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

She also deals with the issue of whether this kind of distributed personality is a form of mental illness or a manifestation of a common phenomenon of which the internet has made us aware.

There is a serious purpose to the book but Sherry Turkle also manages to have a lot of fun with some of the concepts. She mentioned the Turing test, the test divised by Alan Turing as an indicator of machine intelligence - a human interacts using a keyboard and cannot tell whether the "person" at the other end is human or machine.

She relates this to the increasingly common experience of users engaging in interactions with - or trying to chat up - entities which turn out to be "bots" (computer programs). She recounts one such encounter, adding that it is not clear whether the bot passed a Turing test or the teenage user failed one.

It is certainly true that the very anonymity of online relationships enables people to be far more frank with people they discuss with in back channels than they might be with people they have to meet face to face every day!

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