Virtual Reality

Social interaction through virtual environments, is it enough?

 A little under 40 years ago, a group of programmers conceptualized the idea of virtual reality. These four individuals worked on the concept from a tiny Palo Alto, CA cottage, and the idea they formed would soon explode. Their organization would be a false start, though, far ahead of its time. The technology to achieve their goal didn’t exist at that time in history, and the equipment cost made it unobtainable for most people. The only outcome of their brainstorming session was the phrase “Virtual Reality” entering the popular consciousness. Today that dream is a little more obtainable, and some would argue that it’s already here. That’s led to conversations about the risks and merits of our growing virtual lives.

How Virtual Reality Has Influenced Our Lives

One of the vital moments in the world of Virtual Reality was the creation of a game known as World of Warcraft. This game captured the minds and imaginations of men, women, and children worldwide. While it was not the first of its kind, it quickly became, and remains, the most popular entry in its genre. People worldwide could now get together and share adventures in a virtual world. They formed communities, friendships, and relationships and demonstrated all the marks of online society. However, with this dive into virtual life came a severe concern, Virtual Reality Addiction.  

This condition affected thousands of people worldwide, and its appearance has caused many tragedies. Families crumbled due to an obsession with the game. Jobs were lost, and eventually, so were lives. Children have died from neglect, and others have committed suicide due to events in the game. This form of addiction spawned the creation of multiple support groups, such as WoWaholics anonymous. These organizations help individuals break an addiction that can be as severe as narcotics and alcohol.

Despite these events, virtual worlds are here to stay, which may not be bad. For all the horror stories told, there are millions of people who formed friendships that would last a lifetime. Lives were not just lost to the game; others were saved. Those who engage in an active online lifestyle report that they received benefits from them. Those friendships helped them through some of the most challenging times in their lives by the people they met there. Research has revealed that online friendships and relationships are just as solid and valid as those formed in the “real world.”

How To Maintain A Healthy Online Life

As with anything, moderation is vital to maintaining a healthy virtual life. We must maintain our bodies to remain healthy, and local friendships can provide benefits not possible online. However, the friendships we form online are with real people from around the globe. The globalization, understanding, and expanded horizons this offers are of infinite value. However, if you’re concerned may be suffering from internet addiction or know someone who is, reach out to your mental health professional. They can help you determine if there is cause for concern and provide you with methods of living a balanced life.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.

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