Since the industrial revolution of 17 to 18th century in Europe, humans who freed themselves from slavery, feudalism, monarchy and alike, were worried about their dependence and overcoming by their own scientific creations.(1) Perhaps the first of these fears is demonstrated in the popular story of Dr. Frankenstein in 1818, who became a victim of the torment of his own creation.(2) Later on in many stories and films such as Space odyssey 2001, this fear warned us all! Although none of the fears of human clone, machines or robots did not materialize, humans became addicted first to televisions, then video games and most recently to computers, internet, social media, cell phones and alike. This dependency and addiction has not been limited to only a small group of scientists and creators, but has become an epidemic world wide, affecting ordinary people of all ages and totally out of control and a real concern in all lands.
The free thought as expressed in philosophy for example by the popular phrase of Rene Descartes’ “I think therefore I am”, that was the foundation of humans’ modern achievements, has faded away.(3) Similarly the free will that was well expressed through existentialism, and well expressed for example by the popular phrase of Arthur Schopenhauer’s “The world is my representation.” has been totally lost. (4-5) Humans rapidly became slaves once again as in the remote past before the industrial revolution, but this time not to religion, or monarchies, landlords, or another human, but to their own byproducts. The computer that was initially created for fast computing, then as an information technology, soon was transformed to a social media and communication, brain idling and washing device. The invention of mobile devices has facilitated this addiction, dependency, obsession and loss of free thought and will globally and across the life span. In the following we will see how digital addiction has become the most common and worrisome addiction of all types, worse than addiction to gambling, and illicit drugs.
From TV to the Internet and beyond:
After the world war II, when TV invented and became a public entertainment device at home, addiction to it also started with its medical and psychiatric consequences such as reactive apathy and obesity. (6-7) Then soon came the video games such as Nintendo, and by the 80’s personal computers and by the 90’s internet. The medical concern grew so much that medical and psychological journals such as “Cyberpsychology Behaviour” for studying the medical and psychological complications of cyber-addictions were founded. (8) The obsessive and compulsive use of digital technology brought behavioural problems and symptoms similar to any addictive disorder, so the term “digital addict” and “digital addiction” were coined. (9)
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