Random thoughts

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Internet addiction

January 31st, 2009 · No Comments

Back in november 2008, Xinhua reported of the newly introduced official diagnostic definition of “internet addiction”. I was first made aware of this by Imagethief’s post on his blog, and didn’t think much of it at the time.

Then came the latest issue of News China (volume 6, january 5th, 2009) with the article “Internet addiction: bad habit or clinical disorder?” [sorry, I couldn’t find a pointer online]. I disliked the article to the point that it triggered a new perspective. Now, I’m not saying that a clinical diagnosis of “internet addiction” is a bad thing per se. Nobody refutes other clinical diagnoses of  a variety of “addictions”, but it’s unsettling to attempt to portray internet addiction as a mental illness. I don’t have any reason to believe that the current work underway in China has any hidden motives, but sometimes ideas developed with the most candid and honorable objectives can be turned into monsters. Put the focus around the word “internet”, and around what “internet” means. Internet is the place where ideas find a home and a voice. Good and bad ideas alike. Let’s hope internet addiction does not become the tool of choice to shut the voice of whoever insists in shouting bad ideas out there. After all, it’s easy to expect that bloggers could spend many hours on the internet, is there anything to gain in qualifying some of them as mentally ill?

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