Since the Internet and other IT technologies have become more popular than ever before, the amount of time people spend with computers and IT products, such as Internet and online games, has increased tremendously. The continuing boom of information and communication technology is causing the Internet to become a part of everyone’s life. People use the Internet not only as a tool for their jobs, but also to participate in virtual communities. Even if the rate of Internet uptake slows considerably (Weisenbacher, 2002), the trend still remains growing. There were 275.5 million people using the Internet in February 2000. That number had changed to 605.60 million in September 2002 (Nua Ltd., 2002). According to Horrigan’s study (2001), 84 percent of Internet users in America have participated in a virtual community. Moreover, apart from the number of people using Internet, the average time spent doing any activity online is increasing.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Internet Relay Chat: An international computer network of Internet servers, using its own protocol through which individual users can hold real time online conversations.
Virtual Community: A non-physical space that people can interact like they could in realistic world; mostly on the Internet.
Addiction: The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something.
Bulletin Board Systems: An online messaging system and discussion forum, which allows users to post notices and comments to members of an interest group who are connected to the same network.
Internet: An electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.
Instant Messaging: A form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via computers connected over a network such as the Internet.
World Wide Web: A part of the Internet accessed through a graphical user interface and containing documents often connected by hyperlinks—called also Web.