|author||Dr. David N. Greenfield|
|publisher||New Harbinger Publications|
|summary||handy useful guide for the Net-obsessed we know and love|
If the dangers of working, living and playing on the Net have been overstated by political moralists and the media, our dirty little secret is that this is a compulsive culture. Many people do have trouble from time to time balancing e-mail, IM, gaming, coding, IRC-chatting, arguing, shopping, trading, even moderating, with the demands and balance of real life.
The Net is a magnet for brainy, even addictive obsessives, an outlet for their curiousity and creativity that is often much more appealing than home, school or work. So Dr. David Greenfield's book maybe handy help for "Netheads, cyberfreaks, and those who love them," as he puts it.
Greenfield knows what he's talking about. He writes about the intrinsically compulsive elements of life online for shoppers, gamblers, sex-chatters, auctioneers, gamers and kids. He doesn't present the Net as a dangerous menace, just a place so diverse, challenging and compelling that many of the people who go online regularly sometimes struggle with finding the right balance between life online and off. The book is really about balance and perspective, always useful to think about. And there are few college kids or tech workers who don't know somebody who's dealing with this issue in one form or another, if they aren't themselves. The perils of cyberlife are real, if wildly overstated by a phobic society.
Greenfield wrote this book (out in paperback for $12 bucks) because he found his own time online was getting too intense. He describes himself as a "true cyberfreak with technophilic tendencies," and offers useful information about warning signs and remedies. He also believes the Net is going to become much more addictive as it becomes even more interesting and ubiquitous.
Greenfield believes that multimedia stimulation, ease of access, twenty-four-hour availability, lack of boundaries, loss of time, disinhibition, stimulating and creative content are all factors that can contribute to compulsive, even addictive Net use.
"The line from my perspective," he writes, "is when it interferes with your life significantly." If somebody enjoys being online six or eight hours a day and they still lead a healthy and balanced life, there's no problem. But, he says, he isn't certain that anybody can spend most or all of their spare time online and still have a truly balanced life.
This book is sensible. Greenfield's style is easy and straightforward, and the book could be valuable for employers, peers, colleagues and friends concerned about themselves and other people who sometimes struggle with balance and perspective in a culture that is compelling not because it's dangerous but because it's so damned interesting.
You can purchase this book at FatBrain.