Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rethinking the Lotus II

Barry was a high school senior who was well liked by his parents, peers, and teachers. He was a solid basketball player and had already been accepted at George Washington University. His life did have its challenges, however. His father, who was respected in the community, had spent precious little time with Barry as he was growing up. He had come up with any number of excuses throughout the years as to why he was unable to take Barry camping or even play catch in the backyard. Intellectually, Barry had grown to accept this lack of interaction as normal, but his heart refused to go along. Something was missing in all of this.

After basketball practice, Barry would typically go to his room and surf the Internet for hours. He was drawn to the possibilities that the Web offered the endless array of information and stimulation. Often, he would log in to the instant messenger and communicate for hours, sharing intimate details with complete strangers. Here was intimacy without strings attached. Frequently, Barry would search through a variety of Web sites, finding more “eye candy” than the mind could fathom. He began going to sleep later and later at night, as his online activities began to absorb more and more of his time. His basketball coach noticed that he seemed increasingly lethargic on the court, and his grades began to drop. The cyber-lotus fruit of the Internet had done its work well. Barry had numbed the pain of his missing years with his father, and he was now lost in a fog of chat rooms and virtual worlds.

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