Herald columnist, Miranda Devine adds her voice to those asking questions about how the internet, and the virtual community are transforming how people think. Devine quotes Mubarak Ali who believes that by 2012 internet addiction will be "classified as a mental disorder in Australia, akin to gambling addiction, only more widespread".
It may be true that we are changing, but it seems to me that there are both positive and negative effects from these changes. Perhaps a point which is often lost in articles such as these is, does anyone really substitute real friendship, with a virtual friendships? For example its true to say that a growing number of people are building real friendships from an "online connection".
The other point made in Devine's piece is around the lack of empathy in today's teenagers, but sadly, there's nothing new in her account of a traffic accident "where onlookers were said to have watched, laughed, chatted and taken photographs, ignoring the pleas for help from one man as he died, treating the scene as if it were entertainment." Stories of onlookers failing to assist in these situations is not new and perhaps could be put down to the bystander effect.