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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Protecting your Digital Afterlife

This is a great article. Consider what happens to all your information online after you die.

Do you think we need to protect what we say online more for when something happens?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another view of Internet addiction and the ecomony

I just got off the telephone with a client whose husband became unemployed 2 years ago.  He spends most of his days gaming with other women over the Internet.  She yells that he does not contribute to the household income, and she, a physician, does most of the bill paying.  The problem progresses as he does little to look for employment, even through job-seeking websites such as Monster.com only to focus his time on gaming.

This piggybacks on my last blog post that the economy is making it too easy to use the Internet to fill those voids that are missing. Having a job provides a structure in one's life that goes missing when suddenly unemployed.  There is also a sense of purpose when one is working - "I have to get up early in the morning" or "I have someplace I have to be" that prevents idle time to be misused for activities that can be viewed as 'time-wasters'.  The husband in this case is also left with a "honey-do" list of household chores that are not completed. Again, the wife suspects his gaming use has become a major distraction and has become increasingly frustrated.

I am starting to monitor more closely the impact of unemployment and the current economic recession on the impact of Internet misuse and its potential for addiction. It seems highly correlated.  I would be curious to hear more stories about this trend.  Do you feel this is something that can easily happen?  Have you seen it in your own family or community?  This may be a new but unwanted phenomenon.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Internet addiction and the economy

What to do when the economy is suffering and you are recently laid off, go online! That is the best way to find a new job using tools such as Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com.  However, what I am finding is that many unemployed people are using the Internet as a form of distraction. It has become the great time waster.  These are people who once had demanding jobs, went to work on a daily basis, who are suddenly left with nothing to do except look for a new job. The boredom sets in and they use the Internet as a medium to pass the time.

It is not a bad thing to use the Internet to waste time. Even those of us who are employed use the Internet to fill those gaps with a check of email, Twitter, or Facebook during the workday.  The problem is that during bad economic times when people are unable to find new employment they become depressed and anxious. Bills pill up. Payments become past due. Nothing feels good until they get themselves out of their financial holes. Chatting online, using Facebook, Farmville, Second Life, or any other social media tool becomes a way of escaping the depression and anxiety, at least for the moment.

In this New Year, I predict we will see more cases of Internet addiction.  This morning I was already interviewed by a radio station in Albany, NY, reporting on a study done that showed even when people did not go online for one-day that they experienced signs of withdrawal similar to an alcoholic or drug addict.

We live in a culture dependent upon technology. That is a good thing. That is not what we mean when we talk about addiction. The addiction comes from the unhealthy use of this technology where it distracts and detracts from life goals such as finding a job or staying in a healthy relationship.

We need to look more closely at how the Internet is going to fill the void created among the unemployed. Some of it is in the name of making new contacts to find a job and some of it is the ultimate time waster that will prevent them from finding that next job.