Friday, October 02, 2009


Other news outlets have been covering institutional responses from public health organizations about so-called "Internet addiction" as clinics for those who supposedly suffer from the disorder are now being treated in the United States as well as abroad. Now TIME magazine has joined in with a news item called "A New Recovery Center for the Woes of Warcraft." Of course, like many feminists, I am skeptical of systems of knowledge that essentialize or biologize cultural phenomena, although I will grant that I have certainly known people with pre-existing obsessive tendencies who have developed pathological relationships of attraction to their online lives that may be exacerbated by our always-on culture.

What I found strange about the center is its emphasis on rural rehab in which city dwellers get unplugged in order to get better.

He is given a regular schedule, with outdoor activities (including carpentry projects or caring for chickens and goats) plotted throughout the day, plus chores and meals. Rae says the program is designed to mimic what life will be like once patients return home — downtime is built into the routine, so people can learn to cope with boredom

How can "what life will be like once patients return home" involve functioning without computational media, unless the therapists plan to send their charges home in a time machine? I also think it is worth noting that therapy sessions literally take place inside a treehouse, given how the metaphor of the "creepy treehouse" has been applied to so many digital learning efforts.

To see the digital rhetoric of the ReStart center for Internet addiction, you should go -- where else -- to the Internet to check out their online appeals.

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