“If I miss the connection to the Internet I’ll die!”

“If I miss the connection to the Internet I’ll die!”

Avatar. Analisi delle dislocazioni mentali, personalità tecno-mediate, derive autistiche e condotto fuori controllo ( Avatar. Analysis of mental dislocations, techno-mediated personalities, autistic tendencies and out of control behavior). Tonino Cantelmi, Maria Beatrice Toro, Massimo Talli – Magi Edition, Roma 2010

"My Avatar? It's despicable. It’s written this way, without capital letters, and life is a shaman.. "These words of a twenty-year old boy heavily dependent on computer and Internet are the opening words of the book "Avatar", written by Tonino Cantelmi, Maria Beatrice Toro and Massimo Talli, published by Editions Magi.

Nowadays, the number of kids obsessed with computers is off the charts. They are far removed from everything and everyone, including their own family members living under the same roof. Their world is made up of virtual characters, their Avatars, which they have created to live and communicate with through virtual communities, now increasingly popular on the Internet and widely considered by teenagers to be a primary means of socializing.

It's like having an alter ego, but it is completely digital, an actual replacement to be given a name, a certain physical appearance, an age, all of which usually do not correspond to their real characteristics. Through your own Avatar by which you interact on the Web, you can play, you can meet other avatars; new virtual relationships are built, and often, even romantic ones. You create a parallel world and an identity, with the dynamics and rules very similar to real life. It 's a phenomenon that deserves to be analyzed from the perspective of psychological and human emotions.

Reading the various chapters of Cantelmi’s book, it is clear that the theme of dependence on computers has now reached a very high warning level. Without making the commonly expressed trivial complaints, it addresses the issues starting from the observation that many people really happen to live moments of acute despair if they cannot communicate on the Web. They experience a sense of suffocation and depression. It is clearly demonstrated by the frenzy that pushes some people to always be online on Facebook, to chat and see the profiles of others. The new mobile technologies that allow navigation even on the phone have broadened the borders of this phenomenon disturbingly even further, thereby creating a dependence no longer on just a house or office, but at any time of day.

Dependence on Internet can lead to absolute alienation to the point where interaction in the real life becomes reduced to only what is necessary for mere physical survival. This also implies the danger of going beyond techno-dependence to a state of possible "anthropological mutation", where digital technology can influence the human processes and biorhythms. It may still seem like science fiction, but there are already signs of this happening.

This book is the starting point of a new line of research that has the objective to explore the human mind in light of the technological revolution of this millennium. It is a helpful book either for those studying these issues for the first time or for those seeking out the support of a precise statistical analysis of data. This text does not try to draw final conclusions, but simply offers insights and criticism on issues that constitute the ever present challenge to the scientific, social and technological developments in the coming decades. The only criticism is that at times the text is too technical. This makes reading difficult at times and certainly not ideal for the layman. The simply and smooth language and style, however, remedies that problem. In conclusion, it is highly recommended to read this book.

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