Computer Addiction as a Gendered Phenomenon
In the late 1990s, a barrage of media reports declared that women were becoming uncontrollably addicted to the Internet and some were neglecting—or even leaving--their husbands and children as a result of their online obsession. Headlines described the strange phenomenon: Internet Blamed for Neglect: Police Say Mother Addicted to Web(Bricking, 1997), ‘Net-addicted Mother Loses Custody of Her Children (1997), Mom Web Addict Allegedly Neglected Kids (1997), and Net Addiction Like Drugs or Alcohol: Woman Left Husband for Computer (Snodgrass, 1997). When Psychologist and Professor Kimberly Young (1996a; 1996b) concluded in her academic study that women were more likely than men to self-report an addiction to the Internet (see also, American Psychological Association, 1996; 1997; Young, 1998), the popular press reported that women were particularly at risk for the condition. For example, Snodgrass (1997) reported that "women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from Internet Addiction." And the examples of female Internet addicts were, indeed, quite striking: One woman, for example, was reported to have been so involved in the Internet that she neglected to provide food and healthcare for her children, and she forgot to buy heating oil for the house (Bricking, 1997). It was reported that when Pam Albridge’s husband demanded that she choose him or the computer and she chose the computer (Snodgrass, 1997). In yet another spectacular case, news media described that, while she was online, Sandra Hacker would lock her children in a "playroom" that had "broken glass, debris, and child handprints of feces on the wall." Police described that "The place was in a shambles, but the computer area was clean—completely immaculate"(Bricking, 1997). These and other cases of child neglect circulated in the popular media became emblematic of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) or Pathological Internet Use (PIU).
Reed, Lori (2000)....
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