Living in a Virtual World

VIRTUAL SPACE, which once seemed so benign, has proved to be a treacherous environment. People who venture too far into it have been known to die from exposure—some after just 24 hours. Others have survived for as long as 650 hours (twenty-seven days!) before their hearts gave out.1 In China, the government has shut down thousands of Internet cafes and required game developers to install anti-addiction safeguards.2

It’s not just gamers who lose themselves in the Internet. Other regular visitors to virtual spaces become addicted to, among other things, pornography, gambling, shopping, and the search for companionship. The darker corners of the Web are clearinghouses for child exploitation, ...

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