Lost in cyberspace

Cyberspace:
1. The realm of electronic communication
2. Virtual reality

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The thing that leapt out at me most during one of our readings this week was this idea of being “pulled” into cyberspace. I find it interesting how we refer to cyberspace as a geographic place, much so that we use terminology such as “visiting” a website or “entering” a chat room. There are many positives about cyberspace, like the sense of community. But what happens when people fall deeply into this community and begin to confuse their online existence it with the real world. We often see YouTube clips of online gamers viciously verbally abusing other gamers through their headset and sometimes physically attacking their computer or gaming console when something doesn’t go their way. What I didn’t realize is that this is an actual addiction – there have been documentaries on Internet and gaming addiction being treated as a very serious illness. There are now self help websites and organisations where people can post about their addiction. I found that the majority of addicts were young boys, typically aged 10-15 years old, spending 10+ hours a day playing online. It is now understandable how they are pulled in to this virtual world – they are not doing much else. Much like any other addiction, when they aren’t online they are thinking about being online and therefore lose focus in real life activities such as school, sport, and familial commitments.

 

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