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Internet Addiction


            
             The Internet is the largest most versatile source of information in the world today. With its web sites and chat rooms, it is a means of communicating with people in places all over the face of the earth. But with all this power at our fingertips, are there any negative impacts of using this interface? Are we as "simple humans" capable of interacting with such a powerful communication source? Recent studies are beginning to uncover evidence that would suggest that maybe some of us are not so capable of dealing with this technology. In fact, as more research is conducted, experts are finding that the Internet may even be addictive! .
             Development of the Internet began about 15 years ago. In 1973 the U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency initiated a program to research the techniques and technologies for inter-linking various types of networks. (Cerf, 1997) The objective was to develop communication protocols that would allow networked computers to communicate transparently across multiple, linked networks. This was called the internetting project and the system of networks that emerged from the research was known as the Internet. Since that time, various other research projects, to include those conducted by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, have shaped and tailored this project to give us the Internet as we know it today. (Cerf, 1997) .
             The Internet has now grown to include over 4500 Service Providers in the United States alone. A survey by Christian Huitema of Bellcore indicated that there were 26 million host computers on the Internet as of September 1997. (Gehl and Douglas, 1997) A survey conducted by Intelli Quest Information Group Inc. showed that 51 million adults, age 16 or older, were on-line as of the second quarter 1997 in the United States alone. (Inetlli Quest, 1997) With such a large portion of the population swimming in this seemingly never-ending sea of information, what is the real impact of the Internet on society? .


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