Published: Saturday 31 August 1996

Addictive NetA new survey in the US hints at a conclusion many of us may have already drawn: some people spend away too much time on the Internet. They may be addictive. In an online survey conducted by a University of Buffalo doctoral student, 17 per cent of the respondents said they spend more than 40 hours per week on the Internet.

And most concede that their use of Internet has interfered with some aspects of their real life, such as families or jobs. Victor Brenner, the psychology student who conducted this survey says the impulsive behaviour may mimic pathological gambling.

For baby dollsUS-based Mattel is bringing its famed Barbie doll, along with Polly Pocket and the Cabbage patch Kids, in CD-ROM in the hope of luring girls -- and parents -- to its new line of multimedia titles. Barbie fashion designer includes 'printer compatible fabrics' that will enable kids to design and assemble outfits for their real Barbies -- no sewing required. Barbie makeover magic will stick to on-screen fashion statements but with movie style special effects. Boys have not been forgotten altogether. Hot Wheels Crash and Smash OffRoad Racing have been developed to appeal to the young boys.

Safe surfingPrivacy on the Net is fast becoming a sensitive political issue in the US. The Center for Democracy and Technology, an American ngo , deals with protecting peoples right online. Part of its Web site covers the issue of online privacy (http:/ privacy/contents.html) and has interactive demonstration that shows how much information you are sending to other people. It also links you to the Anonymizer (, which allows you to surf the Internet without revealing anything about yourself to others.

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