Someone sent me this story on today’s Straits Times news :
Internet addiction in Singapore on the increase
SINGAPORE, Dec 5 — Doctors in Singapore are warning of a sharp rise in
the number of young people addicted to the Internet, with the most
severe cases needing hospitalisation to wean them off the Web.
Psychiatrists in the Institute of Mental Health and the National
University Hospital treat a new addict every month and expect the
numbers to go up.
A similar trend was noted by five psychologists in private practice
reporting a 30 per cent increase from five years ago. Although the
numbers seem small, the experts see cause for concern.
Dr Munidasa Winslow of NUH’s psychological health department, who saw
only one Internet addict in 2002, said: “We need to be aware that with
time, compulsive Internet use might become the new heroin of addictive
disorders with vulnerable young adults falling into the trap of the
Internet addicts tend to be boys and young men aged between 10 and 20.
They stay glued to the computer for hours, skipping school and
forgoing food and sleep.
Though not physically ravaging like heroin, addiction to the Internet
leads to emotional and mental distress. It can have a physical impact
if it leads to exhaustion and dehydration. It is more akin to gambling
or alcohol addiction, said psychologists.
…(see full story)…
One reason for the rise: the emergence of social networking groups and
more interesting online games have combined to keep young people
riveted to their screens.
For example, psychologists say many young patients stay on social
networks like Facebook all day because they want to keep connected
with their network of friends, through updates on the site.
Dr Goh said: “In the past, the Internet wasn’t as entertaining as it
is now. For some people, it offers them more than what real life
itself can offer.”
IMH’s Dr Fung said it does not help that some parents think having
their children on the Internet keeps them out of trouble outside.
Consultant psychiatrist Brian Yeo of Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
said young people are also encouraged when events such as the World
Cyber Games are heavily promoted and online gaming is classified as a
Take 19-year-old Mohamed Phirkan. The student got into a tussle with
his school, Nanyang Polytechnic, early this year because he wanted to
game competitively, and was cutting classes to play.
He said: “I would rather sacrifice my studies if I’m forced to
choose.” He has since quit the school.
…(see full story)… — The Straits Times
The full story can be found here, here and here.
This means that us bloggers, facebookers, and gamers i.e. digital natives might need to go to the medical doctors for treatment sooner or later? This story really puzzles me in more ways than one. First of all, they cited Mohd Phirkhan, and their story is about internet addiction. But Phirkhan’s game is not even an online game? So how is Phirkhan connected to internet addiction when his game doesn’t even depend on the internet?
And from what I know he quit school because he was offered a USD30k per year contract to compete professionally. Now what does that have to do with internet addiction again?
And cybersports has nothing to do with online gaming like WoW. It’s two different animals the former being games which are competed like sports like FIFA and Counterstrike and the later being games that are played online like WoW and Maplestory.
According to stats I’ve seen, more than 1/4 of gamers now are female and the adults have overtaken the kids in terms of numbers. So how come ‘Internet addicts tend to be boys and young men aged between 10 and 20′ only? Seriously, the story is biased and I’m quite appalled at the standard of professional journalism at the Straits Times.
If what they are implying is even true, then MDA needs to stop it’s US$500million investment into digital media, people need to stop blogging, stop facebooking, and stop gaming.
Now, does that sound right to you? Oh, there was this boy who committed suicide cause the parents didn’t allow him to do track and field. Think they have to stop track and field too.