Part I

.. ic-related web sites on the net, but also the whole music industry, as it is now possible to visit sites that allow anyone to listen to a part of a song or even watch a music video. The growth in the number of teenagers collecting songs is much like the one when people started collecting records. However, the only difference is that on the Internet, there is a greater variety of music, and that one can stay at home while buying or listening to the songs. These improvements attract those who are too lazy to go to stores to buy the records (Vittachi).

As shown in the survey of one thousand high school students, online interactions in the form of chatrooms or newsgroups are where users spend most of their time, which shows that the social relationships formed online are the most seductive (Bluestein). This is because they create a virtual role-playing environment, with the other roles played by real people (Young). In another survey of Ramapo high school students, 37% said that their main source of entertainment on the Internet is chatrooms. The chatrooms of the ’90s are very much like cafes and bars, where people meet and discuss about any topic that they are interested in. The similarities between cafes and chatrooms are overwhelming, that chatrooms can be justifiably called “future cafes”.

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Cafes were, and still are, the meeting places of friends, and chatrooms are meeting places of friends who live far apart from each other. Cafes and bars are often places where new relationships are made, and now, there are some chatrooms that are created with the main purpose of “pairing people up” (Gaw). The reason behind this glaring popularity of chatrooms is that people are not judged by their appearances, but by their personality, and it is because of this, that “chatting” on the Internet can sometimes have positive effects on a person (Stuller). Pornography is the type of entertainment most abused by teenagers, and this is because of their anonymity and the availability of erotic web sites that are open to anyone (Young). Pornography on the Internet has reached a level that it cannot be compared to any other time in history when it was so openly advertised and set up, except for perhaps the ’60s and the ’70s. In a survey of male high school students, 25% replied honestly that they have visited or frequently visit erotic web sites, which shows the importance of web pornography control.

Apart from the many types of entertainment on the Internet that are discussed above, there are many more that are usually overlooked as essential parts that make up the Internet. At the same time as these entertainment sites increase in number, so do the number of people who are addicted to the Internet. This is the cause of all the privileges and comfort presented by the sources of entertainment on the Internet. Internet addiction is becoming a major problem to teenagers, and before trying to analyze its effects, it is necessary to know the correct definition of the word “addiction”. The World Health Organization defines addiction as a “dependence syndrome”. However, as far as the Internet is concerned, usage of the net for over 100 hours a week, a loss of interest in other activities or people, preoccupation with online use, and an inability to control use can all be defined as addiction to the Internet (Maypole).

It is also a consensus that any obsessive use of the Internet is an addiction. An interview of Ramapo high school students showed that only a minority of 16% considered themselves to be addicted to the Internet. Most people do not regard this figure to be dangerous. However, if a survey on the same students showed that 16% considered themselves to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, most people would regard it to be alarming, and would think that they must do something to prevent the addiction. It is simple; this sensitive subject of Internet addiction is ignored without any serious thought. Internet addiction is more complicated than it portrays itself to be, and is even more dangerous than any other type of addiction because it cannot be recognized by outer appearances alone, but only by careful research of a person’s private life (Young). Some professionals who have been researching this topic label it as the greatest fear of the decade, as Donald E.

Maypole, professor of social work at the University of Minnesota- Duluth said, “in the ’60s, certain foods were labeled as addictive, in the ’70s it was sex, in the ’80s gambling, and in the ’90s it’s the Internet”. As it is the case of other addictions, entertaining oneself on the Internet us often seen as a hobby, just as students memorize the statistics on baseball cards. However, the problem lies in that this little hobby can eventually become obsessive and then even addictive, becoming the foundation of that person’s life (Gaw). Many more young teenagers are becoming addicted to the Internet that is constantly expanding, and as they get more deeply involved in their addiction, they become excessively dependent on their online services, which can lead to reckless behavior when taken away from the Internet. A perfect example of this dependence syndrome was the case of one twelve year old boy, who shot his mother when she took away his computer account, and then shot himself (Maypole). The troubles teenagers get into on the Internet are usually unintentional.

Most of the time, teenagers are not restricted enough on the Internet that they can learn to believe that life is amoral. This was the case of two teenagers who claimed that they saw nothing wrong in using other people’s credit cards to shop on net. This loss of morality not only affects the addicts themselves but also those around them, and sometimes even people that they do not know (Vittachi). In addition, other cases show how too much time on the Internet can lead to radical behavior. In May 1998, a fourteen 14 year old girl ran away from home with a New Jersey man that she had met on the Internet.

Also, a fifteen year-old Bemidje boy left his town to meet two women that he had talked to on the Internet. The two teenagers mentioned above not only risked their own lives in running away to meet a stranger, but also shocked their parents and teachers with their irresponsible behavior. Internet addiction does not only affect teenagers. There are also numerous cases of parents who go through divorce and child custody because they are too involved with the Internet, and never take care of their children (Gaw). Entertainment on the Internet and Internet addiction are currently major social issues. The types of entertainment on the Internet are uncountable, and are hard to keep track of because they are constantly expanding.

However, most people seem to be overlooking the possible outcomes of Internet addiction, as it is very often seen as a “temporary addiction”. The researches of many professional psychologists show the devastating effects of Internet addiction; how it can ruin teenagers’ lives, and even those around them. It is known that the Internet will continue to expand for a long time, which means that the growth of Internet entertainment is also inevitable. However, to protect the current generation of teenagers from Internet addiction, it is necessary to put heavier restrictions on those who have access to the Internet. Works Cited Bluestein, William.

“Expansion of Internet.” Forrester Research May 1998 Gaw, Jonathan. “Are Kids Too Tangled in the Web?” Star Tribune 7 Sep. 1998: B1 Maypole, Donald E. Personal interview. 23 Jan. 1999.

Stuller, Jay. ” Games Workers Play” Across The Board Jul. 1998: 16-22 “Survey of Ramapo High School Students on Internet Entertainment and Addiction.” Personal Survey. Ramapo High School, NJ. 27 Jan. 1999.

Vittachi, Nuri. “Is Life Too Comfortable With the Net?” South China Morning Post 15 Nov. 1998: TP6 Young, Kimberly. Personal interview. 21 Jan.

1999. Bibliography : Works Cited Bluestein, William. “Expansion of Internet.” Forrester Research May 1998 Gaw, Jonathan. “Are Kids Too Tangled in the Web?” Star Tribune 7 Sep. 1998: B1 Maypole, Donald E. Personal interview. 23 Jan.

1999. Stuller, Jay. ” Games Workers Play” Across The Board Jul. 1998: 16-22 “Survey of Ramapo High School Students on Internet Entertainment and Addiction.” Personal Survey. Ramapo High School, NJ. 27 Jan.

1999. Vittachi, Nuri. “Is Life Too Comfortable With the Net?” South China Morning Post 15 Nov. 1998: TP6 Young, Kimberly. Personal interview. 21 Jan.

1999.

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