As with any addiction, awareness of our addiction is the first step. That smart technology has collectively become an addiction is not really in dispute. A number of recent studies such as this one, led by the University of Maryland, appear to confirm this and more startlingly paint a much bleaker picture of how smart technologies have wormed their way into every aspect of our lives. Scientists and “Industry Experts” will probably debate for many decades to come on the impacts and consequences of humanities latest addiction just as they have done on a plethora of issues such as smoking, rock music, television, etc.
Says Bob Greene, the CNN contributor and author
“One definition of ‘addiction’ is when other people and other activities in your life begin to suffer because of something you know you should cut back on, but don’t,”.
Some of his examples are things that many people will instantly recognize:
- The urge to pull out a cell phone even when someone you’re with is in the midst of a conversation with you.
- Texting even while your child is telling you about his or her day at school, and realizing later that you can’t remember the details of what your son or daughter has said to you.
- Having the vague feeling that something hasn’t really happened until you post it to Facebook or Twitter.
- Feeling isolated and anxious if you are offline for an extended period of time.
- Noticing that even when your family is all together in one room at home, each person is gazing at his or her own screen and tapping at a miniature keyboard.
Smart technology is an integral part of our lives, and its influence on our lives will only grow in our near future (barring a Mad Max-ish apocalypse). Many argue that this growing habit, or in some cases “addiction”, is simply the next step in the evolutionary ladder of our more traditional habits which have over the years become socially acceptable (checking the mailbox for snail-mail in the morning or watching television from the dinner table). Rather than being a degenerative addiction, they argue that this must be viewed as another communication tool which simply helps and improve social relationships.
As per MSN Health, overuse of smartphone can have serious repercussions on health and well-being. You may not realize the impact until it’s too late. Some of recently seen syndromes are:
- Trigger Thumb – When you browse and texting nonstop, you may inflame your tendons. The result? The tendons can no longer glide through their tunnels smoothly and get temporarily stuck. This, in turn, causes the finger to lock or catch before it has a chance to open—a phenomenon known as “trigger finger“-which is medically a form of tendinitis.
- Cellphone elbow – Elbow action plays a big role when you talk on your cell phone. The outcome of what Evans calls cell-phone elbow, otherwise known as cubital tunnel syndrome, is that the ulnar nerve gets less blood, which, in turn, causes that nerve to short-circuit and malfunction. Common symptoms are a cold feeling and a pins-and-needles sensation, often in the ring and pinkie fingers.
- Wrist pain – Excessive use of smart phone puts pressure on certain tendons that can become inflamed. The result? Pain and tenderness at the wrist.
- Addictive Behavior – When people who display addictive tendencies toward smart phones are cut off from access to this technology, these individuals may experience severe anxiety and hypervigilance over that next e-mail, according to Shari Corbitt, a psychologist.
- Text Neck – too much smartphoen browsing caused some people to come down with painful neck problem.
As per Daily Titan, Some organizations provide employees with the mobile phones and require employees to respond to work-related emails while they are not at work. But, a number of Blackberry (or “Crackberry” as Prof Turel called it) addicts have already filed lawsuits against their respective employers. Turel’s analysis of 241 mobile email users employed at three various universities in North America found that mobile email addiction could be considered common and that employee turnover may be a risk to organizations.
The curse of smart technology is that adults are as guilty as children if not more. A recent survey in the UK by Ofcom shows that 1 in 3 teenagers are likely to use their smart phones and during mealtimes and that 1 in 5 are likely to do so during a film or play. While these surveys and statistics are generally to be taken with a pinch of salt they trends they portray are a little alarming and begs the question…Do we do something about it? More importantly … Can we afford to not do anything about it?