Archives for internet addiction



Election Addiction

From mid-July to mid-October, I became addicted—to the Presidential election. By October 20, I was looking at the FiveThirtyEight blog at least four times a day, and was constantly checking Google News and other websites.  This was a classic addiction—after three or four searches each time, I stopped because my marginal utility was diminishing.  But after another hour without my “fix,” I had to search again and got tremendous pleasure from that first search.  The addiction was interfering with my work.

The theory of rational addiction suggested a solution—go cold turkey.  So I vowed not to look at the FiveThirtyEight blog—and I’ve now been “clean” for 6 days.  To mitigate my withdrawal symptoms, watching the NLCS and the World Series has served as my methadone. Watching baseball for me has the virtue that it’s self-contained—I’ve not developed any addiction and only watch the games.  And if I can stay clean through Nov. 6, my problem will be solved!



The Poptropica Puzzle

The one question I ask most often about the internet is the following: why do people make such great stuff and then give it away for free? The website Poptropica is a perfect example. Poptropica is a virtual online world in which children take part in adventures that require creativity, persistence, logic, and coordination to […] Read More »



Club Penguin Anonymous

My son Nicholas, age 5, recently discovered the internet. Last week I got him an account at Club Penguin, a website for kids. Since then, he has spent hours at a time on Club Penguin. He refuses to come to meals. He throws tantrums if forced to stop. Even when enticed with activities he used […] Read More »



The FREAK-est Links

The Hydrogen Education Foundation’s 2007/08 contest challenge: fix airports. (Earlier) Does Dunbar’s “magic” 150 apply to social networking sites? South Korea creates camps to cure Internet addiction. (Earlier) The realities of vote buying. (Earlier) Read More »



The FREAK-est Links

What’s the solution to air pollution in China? Becker and Posner speak. (Earlier) Also in China: man dies after three straight days of online gaming. (Earlier) More than a quarter of a billion people to use mobile dating services by 2012. Does smoking marijuana have long-term effects? Read More »