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March 11, 2009

Online Dating for Dummies + Internet Addiction

Our unit/ discussion on Internet Addiction was something that I hadn't looked at that carefully until I read the article about the rehab center in China for Internet addicts. If you're using the Internet so much that you're legitimately "addicted" to it, I suppose rehab is the only logical answer. Looking at this from a standpoint coming out of today's culture, it doesn't seem TOO far of a stretch, although developing a literal dependency on the Internet (as in, you NEED it to function daily) seems pretty extreme. With how often most people use the Net for business purposes and even casual daily conversation, I can foresee the average amount of use increasing exponentially over the next decade and beyond.
When I think of Internet addiction, I can't help but think of the thousands of kids playing World of Warcraft. I think most people can agree that it is the most popular online game available at the moment (perhaps aside from Halo, which I don't think really counts in this instance). I don't have statistics, but it's unhealthy how much time some of those kids spend on that game. I think that pertains to the whole concept of kids becoming anti-social also. In that one video we watched, a boy's dad said that he needed to send his son an email just to get his attention. That's a bit extreme when total interaction within a family is silenced because of the Internet.
The whole "online dating/ cyber relationship" thing seems pretty touchy as well. For some people, they make it work and some have a healthy relationship over the Internet. Yet others have very bad experiences with online relationships and sexual predators. Because the Internet is so vast and (nearly) limitless, this gives way to limitless possibilities for horny, single, old men to spy and creep on the Internet to find young, innocent girls to prey upon. It may sound a bit disturbing, but that's only because it is. It may not seem like a grand problem statistically, but it does affect many young people each year. Myspace is probably the most prominent of these social networking sites that have experienced numerous cases of sexual violation due to "shading guys" luring young girls to believing they're someone else.
You want to feel bad for the girls, but in a lot of cases, they respond right back to the comments and solicitations. When it gets to the stage where the girls are actually asked to meet up with the "guy", some are actually "gung ho" about driving or flying wherever to meet with their online flings. This has to be extremely troubling for parents to learn about. The very types of people that they teach their kids not to talk to on the streets or in other public places are the same ones only disguised as younger males on the Internet. Myspace really has no way of filtering these guys either. Their profiles are run by actual people, so it's following the rules. They have yet to be able to authenticate the information with the person whose profile it falls under.
Not Myspace's fault because they no one has perfected the system yet. Especially not music downloading, but that's another story...heh.

Globalization and Friends

I feel as though globalization has numerous benefits and some drawbacks.
Benefits obviously include more people being more connected. Connectivity is one of the cornerstones of globalization. It's essentially the spread and connectedness of production, communication, and technologies across the world (word for word from the notes). That being said, each of those terms (production, communication, and technology) have experienced dramatic changes and immense advancement over the past decade. The newest phases of technology allow us to interact with people all across the world on a level that has never before been experienced so easily. YouTube videos can be viewed by people in Europe and Asia and Australia in addition to the United States and Canada.
However, globalization can be seen from the negative side as well. In my opinion, the idea of having politics market-driven seems like a shallow judgment from people that couldn't comprehend big politics in the first place. So, if Barack Obama can't fix the economy back to the way it was, he failed as the 44th President of the United States? I don't follow. I realize that our economic status is a huge part of what's going on right now, but I think there's plenty more that he can accomplish too.
I was also fascinated by the idea of "corporatization" in terms of recreational facilities. I was always aware of them, but never really stopped to think about them in that way until now. Even off the top of my head, I can name a bunch of recreational facilities that are sponsored by corporations: Target Center, TCF Bank Stadium, Coors Field, Staples Center...are just a few. Nearly every professional basketball center is corporately sponsored. Even in the near future, with the construction of Target Field, the future home of the Minnesota Twins, we'll continually see these arenas popping up everywhere with a great big ol' corporate logo on the side. Most, if not all, of the other major arenas are named after some type of important historical figure or contributor. The "Hubert H Humphrey" Metrodome, Williams Arena, Mariucci Arena...there are many more.
Basically it just sparked my interest as to how strong of a grip corporations have on landmarks all over. Naomi Klein's whole scene was very interesting as well.