Raise your hand if you consider yourself an Internet addict. Go ahead, no one here will judge you. (How could we: all of us are online at least 12 hours per day.) The thing is, if you feel like your addiction actually represents a legitimate problem, fear not, for a new “detox” center, reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program, has opened near Seattle. It’s the first of its kind in the U.S., and it will “help internet and video game addicts overcome their dependence on gaming, gambling, chatting, texting and other aspects of Internet Addiction.”
Before we go any further, to see if you might benefit from he 45-day, $14,500 program, have a look at the center’s questionnaire. (For the record, I answered three questions with a “yes.” The thing is, even though I spent an ungodly amount of time online, I’d throw my computer into the Hudson River if at all possible.) If you answered four with a “yes,” then, according to the center, you have a problem. Let’s go get you some help.
The program itself appears to be based on giving you a “normal” life: interaction with other human beings on a face-to-face basis; life skills training; vocational development (that I could totally use); fitness; and, if you need it, psychological help. Tell the good doctor where you see yourself in an ideal world.
All told, doesn’t sound too bad at all.
And as you might expect, one of the games singled out is World of Warcraft, which, again, I’ve put more than my fair share of time into. (And if the leaked details about the upcoming expansion pack are true, then I’m likely to pump even more hours into it once again.) What the center concerns itself with here is, does your playing of the game negatively affect your life outside of the game? Are you blowing off work and/or school just to run another raid, that type of thing.
Flipping through the photos of the center on its Web site, man, that place looks great. Lots of green trees, plenty of wildlife to remind you that, you know, you’re a bag of cells just like any other creature, etc.
(Man, the more I read about this center, the more excited I get. Maybe I do have an Internet addiction problem?)
Of course, there will be haters, people belittling the concept because it validates their own existence. And while the price—again, $14,500 for a 45-day program—initially seems expensive, it’s not like Internet addiction is a problem in the developing world.
Well done to the center. If we can treat other addictions (drugs and alcohol come to mind), then why can’t we treat this one?