Computer networks are quickly proliferating in the United States as a primary form of communication, while making dramatic impact in popular culture (Kraettli L. Epperson, Sociology Professor, Rice University). Activities include e-mail, newsgroups, listserves, file transfer protocol sites, and internet relay chat known as IM. People are using the Internet as a form of social behavior, replacing older methods of postal mail and even the telephone. Yet, what has become a 'revolutionary' tool in Computer-Mediated Communications (CMC), is now being looked at as also a tool of socially destructive behavior. This form of behavior better known as, anti-social behavior, is a psychological disorder.
Anti-social personality disorder is characterized as a gross disparity between behavior and the prevailing social norms. The character symptoms are a lack of safety for one's self, incapacity to feel guilt or shame, irresponsibility of social norms, disregard for rules, and a lack of concern for the feelings of others (www.mentalhealth.com). The reason why anti-social behavior is important in my discussion stems from the same reasons people become addicted to the Internet. Internet addiction and anti-social personality disorders are both psychological disorders, negative behaviors, and both can be caused by the reasons discussed above . (See Positive Reinforcement of Negative Behavior on this Web page)
Connection to the Internet
Internet addiction plays a key role in developing Internet-related anti-social behavior. It takes an addiction of spending monstrous amounts of time alone on one's computer to develop the psychological parameters of an Internet-related, anti-social behavior disorder. To know more about the psychological aspect of Internet addiction and other disorders see Dark Side of the Internet homepage or Are You Addicted to the Internet? Anti-social behavior can be caused through isolation and other variables that can cause a person to exert the symptoms of an anti-social personality disorder. It is now known that the Internet can be a cause for anti-social behavior. Here are a few of the many variables for the Internet cause of anti-social behavior.
Video Game Addiction
There are a few reasons why the Internet, a tool of communication, has caused anti-social behavior. The first is video gaming. As discussed above, video games have an addictive nature. Knowing the addictive nature of video games, we can go one step further. Time spent on video games results in time lost socializing.
The more time a player spends alone on video games, the more that player is becoming isolated from the rest of the world. Basic social functions are forgotten, or have not been fine-tuned with experience. The video game player does not know how to handle social behavior. One cause of the anti-social disorder is even more time spent in front of video games. Another cause is isolation, aggressiveness, and disregard for rules and regulations. The initial addiction of video games has now become a psychological anti-social personality disorder.
Internet sites have even been established linking both video games and Internet addiction. One example is Internet Addiction Association. At this site one can find even more links to Doom and other related games. The game links on this site provide a large repertoire of game downloads, game cheats, and other related information about gaming and expanding. The game links brings me to my other point about anti-social behavior.
Because downloading has become a huge use of the Internet, through the availability of "free" software, MP3 files, applications, programs, and other related downloads, the process and time spent can result in developing anti-social behavior. Remember Hitman, the addicted Internet user from New Zealand who downloaded in every spare moment he had? (see Positive Reinforcement of Negative Behavior/Downloading) Well, people such as Hitman will spend hours upon hours searching for and then downloading programs off the Internet. In downloading, the same standards apply as they did for anti-social behavior deriving from video games. A person who spends excessive amounts of time on the Internet downloading might eventually become anti-social.
The Internet has provided a means for people to communicate, while also providing a means for isolation and anti-social behavior. New technology has introduced both positives and negatives for our society. We must learn how to cope and solve the negative aspects of this new technology, the Internet, and develop new ways to control psychological disorders. I urge anyone reading this site to take the time to visit our Are You Addicted to the Internet? Web page. There is help for this disorder, and the better we deal with problems and disorders, or even confront a loved one about a problem, the sooner we can start building our lives back and create better world.
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Thanks to my tutor, Monica do Outeiro, who helped edit my paper.