Am I My Avatar? 

There have been many news stories of late about the dangers of Internet addiction.  I recently wrote about sexual relationships.  That post struck a chord with many of you. Are there other dangers?  Let’s proceed carefully…

As with any other kind of medium, there’s a research that suggests that certain kinds of computer interactions can change your mind.  You can wind up thinking differently—in the same way we thought differently when we learned to use written language.  Computer interactions can excite your hormone and mental systems as well.  You can get “high” on your computer.

Moreover, two researchers in California have developed the concept of “immersability.”  What they say is that as computer games and interactions have become more life-like, we become immersed in the action.  And we can lose the ability to know what’s real or virtual.

Computer interactions have become more life-like.  The quality of video games has become more real.  The story lines have become more engaging.  Some literary critics have even argued that complex video games are equivalent to great literature.

We know that virtual reality will become real.  Holographic actions are just around the corner.  So, will we become immersed in those interactions?  Will we enjoy virtual interactions more than real ones?  Will we lose touch?

That remains to be seen.  The present research, however, says that many people, including children, do lose touch, cut off social relations, prefer virtual reality to real reality, or become addicted.  A person has to know or be told that s/he is losing touch and withdrawing.

If someone is escaping too much in your relationship or family, tell her or him that. Take them to therapy.  Don’t let it slide!

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