Creating Waves of Awareness
The strange case of the man who taught his daughter a lesson
by shooting her laptop computer
all because of a Facebook post
What can we learn about Internet addiction?
Our Hidden Virtual Lives
Tommy Jordan, an IT expert, found a secret FaceBook post written by his daughter while repairing and upgrading her computer. In her post, she described her point of view of her home life. She said her parents forced her to do chores and she felt as if she had been treated like a “slave.”
A Response To Uncovering What Someone Thinks
Jordan responded by posting a video of himself shooting his daughter’s laptop numerous times. His video went viral, many offered him their support in finally owning up to his responsibility as a parent and teaching his daughter a lesson; while others expressed concern about the safety of the girl. Eventually, someone reported him to the police, afraid that he might shoot his daughter, too.
The Desire To Destroy
There have always been cases of destructive personalities and tendencies resulting in the wreckage of people’s property and self esteem. Some have used guns or even more drastic means to cause destruction. Surely, these violent extreme acts always underline a mental imbalance of some sort and the need for treatment.
Vicarious Empathy By A Mass Audience
Many have focused upon his exaggerated reaction to his daughter's misbehavior and typical rebellious teenage FaceBook post. But, instead, take a look at the mass general public internet over-reaction to his act of shooting her computer. The video above has been seen over 30 million times, with a multitude of blogs like this one and thousands of responses in the comment sections. And, I'm sure, thousands of dinner table conversations over this incident.
The display of his temper tantrum, rather than seeking another less dramatic way to display his frustration, touched a nerve for everyone. Remember, this man works with computers all day long. It represents his livelihood. For his daughter, it represents her connection to friends and a means to seek sympathy for her perceived slavery at home. For us, we can relate to all of these feelings and frustrations.
The Computer Rules Our Lives
The computer rules over us almost every minute of the day, unless we have the ability to pull ourselves away. We have become totally dependent upon these devices as an alarm clock, a calendar, to schedule our activities, to listen to our favorite music collections, to play games, to do research, to fulfill our work responsibilities, to do our school assignments, to watch television shows, movies and videos, to journal and blog, to learn what's hot and trendy, to find out the news, to check the stock market, to search for recipes, to see fashionable photographs and with Twitter moment-to-moment messages of what's happening in people's lives.
What If The Computer Is Broken?
In a way, this man repairs broken machines. When computers go haywire, someone needs to fix them. He's the man! But, in our lives, our real life relationships, perhaps due to our intense reliance upon computers, may also be broken. Have we all turned into addicts? Have we all become broken machines, instead of real humans interacting and living together harmoniously?
Did we all live vicariously through this one act of shooting the computer? Did we connect and empathize with this act, because a part of each of us also wants to shoot the computer? Remember, only the day before he was fixing and improving on the functionality of this one computer. He invested part of his life and hard earned money into that laptop as a gesture of love for his daughter. In return, the relationship was still broken and in need of repair. He acted out in a way that none of us would dare to do. He shot the computer. Sure, he can always go back and buy another one, and he has the capacity to repair or rebuild a new one. Thus, everyone came to his support. Yeah! Shoot that darn computer, I would, too, if I could.
Every internet addict, like you and me, had a strong reaction because we lost perspective, a laptop is no longer an "object", it is the means to a "fix." We need the laptop, our third limb, in order to reach out and make a connection with the digital world. "Can you hear me?" All the world viewed that single computer get killed, murdered, shot dead with nine bullets. This one computer represented all of our computers. We felt it and inside what did you feel? Because the man told everyone that the computer was for his daughter, everyone confused the real target of destruction. He didn't want to harm his daughter, he really wanted to destroy the computer, his labor of love, what he worked for all his life, his career, his profession, what he had become a "slave" to and what we have become a slave to in today's computer age.
Reality versus Unreality
But, what has made both Tommy Jordan and the people who watched his video react so emphatically to the incident comes from a distortion between what’s real and what people perceive as reality.
An increasing number of people focus on the digital world where social interactions seem more satisfying than real life relationships. On-line interactions with others can seem more intense and even more real than reality itself. People's lives revolve around the internet, their experiences via these social networks and their constant communication with others there.
A Facebook account can be perceived as a real identity as if our true identity and daily activity happens in this virtual world where we interact with other “real” people. We call these social friends our "real" friends, even though we may never meet in real life. We connect with them and feel they act as a constant in our lives through this feeble connection that we establish on the World Wide Web.
The destruction of a laptop computer in connection to what someone wrote on their Facebook page can be viewed, for some, an extreme act of cruelty calling for police intervention. We can understand their belief that person capable of shooting their child’s property will not hesitate at doing the same to the child.
Both the actions of Tommy Jordan and the subsequent interest and massive response reveal a much deeper problem called "Internet Addiction."
The internet has an appeal like nothing else; not even TV has been able to contend with initiating such acts of violence at an alarming rate, or rallying the massive reaction at such an enormous speed. Initially, the preserve of a few nerds or those too inadequate to socialize in public, preferring the security that an anonymous digital identity gave them, has now taken over our daily lives. Only a few of us can spend a day without our computer or cellphone (minicomputer) connection.
The “net” has opened the windows to a new world for all of us: a world that no longer is delimited by the geographical space where we live, or by the circle of our acquaintances. The net has given us instant free access to a wealth of knowledge, and an easy connection to millions of people.
Remaking Ourselves; We Are No Longer Hidden
Through the net we can make our voice heard. We can amplify it in order to reach those whom we may never meet in the physical world. It enables us to create a new persona or to redefine an existing one.
On the internet we can be sexier, younger, slimmer, cleverer, wittier, more intelligent, and more understanding: overall more interesting people.
It’s no wonder some of us (a lot of us) have become addicted to our drug of choice, this on-tap instant source of information, recreation, and social interaction.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, EBay, Wikipedia, and YouTube have become a magnet for millions of users who fritter their time away on them on a daily basis.
Photo Credit: Debby Bruck
When Internet Leads To Addiction
Other sites have even more sinister consequences, such as gambling and pornographic sites: the main culprits for causing cyber addition, and the breakdown of real life relationships.
As the number of social networks continues to increase, we find that it is no longer enough to be on MySpace or Facebook, we must also be on Twitter, on Digg, on YouTube, on Pinterest and so on, but where does the healthy social activity end and an addiction to the internet begin?
There is a fine line and it is sometimes difficult to understand when we surpassed what we consider a normal usage of the net and when it becomes an unhealthy, mood altering dependence.
Some of us use the WorldWideWeb (www) for work, and so it becomes even more difficult to identify and recognize when our internet usage has stopped serving as a useful, career enhancing media and transformed into damaging activity.
Here are some of the “cries for help” posted on a website dedicated to internet addiction:
Hours & hours -- want my old pre-Net life back - - Mar 12th 2010
I'm addicted. - - Feb 5th 2012
My experience - anonymous - Dec 23rd 2010
Help! - James Town Tango - Sep 9th 2009
My boyfriend addicted to chat rooms - sharon-anne - Apr 22nd 2009
Tryed and tryed - - Dec 27th 2008
Internet obsession - Anonymous - Jan 18th 2007
Susan - Dec 17th 2006
The following are repertory rubrics that could prove useful in treating the psychological symptoms of Internet Addiction:
The the fact that conventional medicine still debates whether to class Internet Addiction (IAD) a major psychological illness of our time, as a mental disorder, speaks volumes for denial and refusal of our leading experts. Western medicine follows a rigid model, slow to adjust and reluctant to acknowledge what it cannot quantify from a material view point.
As homeopaths we have the opportunity to pioneer research and treatment in this area. I would welcome any insights, comments and personal experience in treating this and other related computer addictions.
Claudia Dias author
Debby Bruck editor
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