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Nov. 13, 2008

For Immediate Release

CAMPBELLSVILLE UNIVERSITY HEARS OF INTERNET ADDICTIONS FROM PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR DR. ERIC BRUNS

 

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – It’s a new world of students failing classes, spending too much time on the Internet by gaming and social networking and losing interpersonal relationships with friends and family.

Dr. Eric Bruns, associate professor of psychology, spoke on this new world of Internet and gaming addictions at Campbellsville University’s chapel Nov. 12 in Ransdell Chapel.

Dr. Eric Bruns, associate professor of psychology, speaks on Internet addiction during Campbellsville University’s chapel Nov. 12.  (Campbellsville University Photo by Memo Quintana)

“One way an addiction can be defined is when your life is out of balance and your behavior becomes compulsive,” Bruns said.

“Are you taking time to do what you need to do – doing work first before you relax and have fun? Are you taking care of business or are you wasting time on frivolous behavior?” he asked the audience which was made up mainly of students.

Bruns said God made our brains to experience pleasure, but you can “hijack the pleasure circuit through different kinds of behaviors.”

He said a study in China showed that 10 percent of the population under 18 is now classified as addicted to the Internet. These young people spend six hours or more a day online.

“These are the dangers of the technology expansion,” Bruns said. “We have a whole generation growing up not developing interpersonal skills. They won’t know how to work with people. It’s frightening,” he said.

Bruns told a story of a woman being addicted to an Internet game called “Second Life,” in which she became immersed in the game and carried on an online affair with a man from another continent and this behavior ruined her family.

Bruns said another possible indication of having an addiction is when you spend more time thinking about the problematic behavior instead of the things you should be focused on.  An example of this would be students in class and not taking notes but thinking of an online persona (like an Avatar in “Second Life”) or staying up all night gaming and can’t keep their eyes open in class.

“Something is going on if you can’t focus on the here and now of life,” he said.

Bruns said, “This addiction is a growing problem. It is severe. Don’t let your brain be hijacked.”

He said to explain addiction we have to understand things from a worldview that includes a loving God.

“God created us with a purpose and calling,” he said. “God has plans for you and a calling. We were created to be in relationships, and the Bible tells us we were created to be in a relationship with a loving and perfect God.”

He said people sometime, if they haven’t accepted Jesus as their savior, have an empty place inside that “God created and only He can fill.”

If you don’t fill the hole with God, it gets filled with other things, some of which are addictive, he said.

“The Internet can be a powerful tool,” he said, “but Satan uses it to diminish the kingdom. Every time someone becomes addicted, Satin is laughing and the kingdom is weakened.

             

“God is the only one who can bring us to restoration and healing from all of that.”

Bruns also talked about illegal downloading of music and showed a film on the subject.

He urged students to understand that illegal downloading of music can be a crime and can cost money both for students and universities.

“Making copies of music or e-mailing music to friends is illegal,” Bruns said.

“What is free, can cost dearly,” he said.

“As Christians, we’re called to be good stewards of the resources we’re granted,” he said. Some infractions of illegal downloads can be up to $15,000 per incident, and Bruns asked the students, “Can you afford to use the Internet inappropriately? Can you afford it emotionally, physically and psychologically? It’s a check you probably don’t want to write,” he said.

Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries, led a prayer for the brother of a CU student, Melody Hall of Rockfield, Ky., who was killed in a car wreck this week. He was a student at the University of Kentucky, and another young man was also killed, and Pavy reminded the audience that we are interconnected in life.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.