Computer Addiction? A Study of Computer Dependency

Computer Addiction? A Study of Computer Dependency

Computer Addiction? A Study of Computer Dependency

Computer Addiction? A Study of Computer Dependency


This is an investigation of the syndrome of computer addiction which attempts to discover if obsessive dependency is harmful to the psychological and social development. It is based on case studies made of volunteers from all over the UK who considered themselves to be dependent upon computers.


This research was initiated through my combined interests in new technology and in people. As a lifelong observer of the human condition I have always been fascinated in the activities of others, and in trying to determine what makes them 'tick' and brings them fulfilment in life. What is obvious to all is that what holds the attention of one may provide boredom for another. Many in the population feel that chasing a ball around a court or field is a worthwhile and meaningful activity, while to others programming in machine code is infinitely more exciting. Who is to say which is more acceptable?

During a period of four years I was immersed in the lives of people for whom interaction with computers was considered infinitely preferable to the majority of their interactions with people. This is not a belief I personally share, in spite of the fact that I spend much of my life staring at a VDU screen, but one which I came to understand and appreciate fully. People differ in their needs, aptitudes and in their cognitive styles, and happy are they who are able to find an activity which perfectly matches their personality.

The 'computer dependents', who shared their beliefs, their pains and their happiness with me, have enriched my understanding of psychology as no textbook ever could. Their honesty and their ability to lay bear their weaknesses as well as their strengths have proven how dangerous it is to condemn what one does not understand or to show prejudice against those who differ from ourselves.

Early readings about 'computer junkies' and 'hackers' suggested that if I pursued this research I might spend my time with people who were barely human and who were unable to converse with others on any meaningful level. How untrue this proved to be. I met some of the most fascinating people of my life. They were intelligent, lively, amusing, original, inventive, and very hospitable. True, they rarely spend much time communicating with people for reasons explained within this book, but when interest was shown in them and their activities it would be

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