Internet, like alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, could be very addictive.
A few decades ago, internet was just pure luxury for the common people and an option for businesses who want to make their transactions more convenient. Nowadays however, having an internet connection seems to have risen to the level of being a necessity. As a result, internet cafes exist everywhere, internet service providers continuously multiply in number, there is wifi connection in almost every establishment.
For businesses, especially those medium and large scale ones, internet is inevitable. Most, if not all transactions are already made through the internet. This is because online transactions are practically more convenient, more speedy and costs less.
The use of the internet has become a part of the everyday life of a large percentage of people, especially those living in the urban areas. Students use it for researching, social networking, and of course, for online gaming. Most people also use it for chatting, email, video conference and other forms of communicating with their loved ones. For some, they use the internet to make friends, and others, to search for their mates. There seems to be nothing with wrong with the internet phenomenon. Technology was indeed meant to make people’s lives easier. But then, more often than not, anything in excess is bad.
Perhaps the most addictive features of the internet are online gaming and social networking. Young people are the ones most vulnerable to cyber addiction because of those things. The negative effects may include low grades because of lack of time to study, behavioral problems, poor eyesight, strained hand muscles and other psychological effects.
But like alcohol, drug or cigarette dependence, cyber addiction is curable. More importantly, it is preventable. All it takes is moderation. But unlike dangerously addictive substances, there are no warning signs regarding internet addiction. As far as our country is concerned, there are no laws punishing internet addiction, as there are no laws punishing video game addicts. This is perhaps because the game addicts are not sabotaging nobody else’s lives, only their own. So what about punishing online game providers and social network sites? Just recently, a case was filed in Hawaii by a self-proclaimed video game addict against the creator of the MMPORG "Lineage II". The plaintiff claims that he became "psychologically dependent and addicted" to the fantasy massive multiplayer online role-playing game "Lineage II," as it gave him "great feelings of euphoria and satisfaction." His charges against the game publisher include negligence and infliction of emotional distress. He also alleged that the defendant should bear legal responsibility for his condition since it did not provide any warning that it could be addictive. The judge allowed the case to proceed, but dismissed some of the claims. (Source: www.ecommercetimes.com/rsstory/70677.html)
I have no idea what the outcome of the case will be as I am not familiar with the laws of Hawaii. Assuming that the case was filed here in our country, still I could not speculate what could happen as laws on internet-caused damages and jurisprudence on the internet are both lacking. Hence, as soon as possible these deficiencies should be addressed because soon, the Philippine Judicial System would be bombarded by internet related litigation as internet usage is becoming more and more widespread.
---- Gen S. (8)