Do you love your BlackBerry? Has it found its way into every aspect of your existence? Do you have an insatiable desire to find new applications for your BlackBerry that make it even more of an integral part of your daily routine? Or maybe you spend countless hours searching app stores, begging your digital pimp for the perfect theme that will finally complete the symbiotic relationship between you and your BlackBerry.
Like most die hard smartphone users, you probably relate to more than one of the above statements. If so you might be an addict! Yes that right, you might have unwittingly joined the ranks of the drug users of the 60s, but the cannabis of old has been replaced with a modern day chemical makeup of circuits and solder.
Sure you are laughing now, but take a second and think about it. At what point does something become an addiction?
Let’s start by looking at the definition of addiction, but in this case I have replaced every reference to drug or substance with the word BlackBerry.
In medical terminology, an addiction is a chronic neurobiologic disorder that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental dimensions and is characterized by one of the following: the continued use of a BlackBerry despite its detrimental effects, impaired control over the use of a BlackBerry (compulsive behavior), and preoccupation with a BlackBerry’s use for non-therapeutic purposes (i.e. craving the BlackBerry). Addiction is often accompanied by the presence of deviant behaviors (for instance stealing money or forging a check) that are used to obtain a BlackBerry.
Scary isn’t it? Did you just read this and a giant neon sign came on that says, “This is YOU!”? If so, you aren’t alone.
According to a new survey of mobile phone users, the following facts were noted:
- 75% never leave their home without their phone
- 33% actually stated “they can’t live without it”
- 67% regularly use it as an alarm clock
- 50% said if they lost their phone and wallet at the same time, the phone would be harder to replace
The sad part to this story is that when I saw the “75% never leave their home without the phone”, my first thought was, what the heck were the other 25% thinking?
So what would the great Dr. Sigmund Freud have thought of this new age psychosis? Would he find some cerebral connection between our sex drive and BlackBerry use or would he instead point to some strange digital transference as the cause? Well being one to think about these things, I looked it up and I’m sorry to say that Dr. Freud probably wouldn’t be able to help us because, although great in mind and method, Dr. Sigmund Freud was himself an addict.
Yes that’s right, his addiction to smoking cigars (20 per day) was widely known. On the advise of his doctor Frued did stop for a time at one point, but his subsequent depression and other withdrawal symptoms proved unbearable. So I found an actual quote from the great Dr. Freud relating to his addiction and I again applied the “BlackBerry” factor to it:
Soon after giving up my BlackBerry there were tolerable days. Then there came suddenly a severe affection of the heart, worse than I ever had when texting. … And with it an oppression of mood in––– which images of dying and farewell scenes replaced the more usual fantasies. . . . The organic disturbances have lessened in the last couple of days; the hypo-manic mood continues. . . . It is annoying for a doctor who has to be concerned all day long with neurosis not to know whether he is suffering from a justifiable or a hypochondria-cal depression.
In February 1923, at the age of sixty-seven, Freud noted sores on his right palate, and jaw that failed to heal. They were cancers. An operation was performed––– the first of thirty-three operations for cancer of the jaw and oral cavity which he endured during the sixteen remaining years of his life. I am still out of work and cannot swallow,” he wrote shortly after this first operation. “Smoking is accused as the etiology of this tissue rebellion.” Yet he continued to smoke.
If the great Dr. Freud was unable to shake himself of a habit, then how can we mere mortals be expected to do better?
Sure it’s a terrible stretch to compare a smoking addiction to BlackBerry use, but you get the idea. Addiction is addiction, no matter what the form or the medical consequences.
Truth be told, we don’t really know what ramifications of our continued affliction with BlackBerry dependency are. For instance, what of the studies that link brain tumors with cell phone use? In a strange twist of fate, I did an article on this a few weeks ago (Read Now) and it was actually a little disturbing to say the least. Did it stop or slow down my BlackBerry use? No, in true addict form, I brushed off the obvious implications of my BlackBerry usage and rationalized it away.
As if that weren’t enough, what will be the long term effects on the evolution of human race? There have been many recent studies that show excessive texting has actually changed the fingers of the abusers. The name given by physicians to describe the new set of symptoms they are seeing from excessive texting on cell phones is Carpal Finger Syndrome. These symptoms range from mild achiness of the fingers, to a more serious cramping, blistering, and severe contracting. Abstinence is the sole treatment.
Beyond the physical implications, what of the social ones?
The problem seems to be growing. A Japanese study revealed that children with cell phones often don’t make friends with their less tech-savvy peers, a Hungarian study found that three-fourths of children had mobile phones and an Italian study showed that one quarter of adolescents owned multiple phones and many claimed to be somewhat addicted to them. A British study also recently found that 36 percent of college students surveyed said they could not get by without cell phones. But this may be more a sign that students view cell phones as a modern necessity like a car, said David Sheffield, a psychologist who conducted the study at Staffordshire University in England.
“The most shocking figure was that 7 percent said the use of mobile phones had caused them to lose a relationship or a job,” Sheffield said.
The problem goes a step further because the more we choose texting as our preferred method of communication, the more we lose our social skills and a standard face-to-face conversation grows more awkward and out of place. Imagine a few decades from now saying hello to someone and having that be perceived as rude? It could happen.
Need even more proof of our head long rush to oblivion? I have two words for you, Visual Voicemail. True Visual Voicemail takes the spoken words of an “old fashioned” message and converts them into text. See where I’m going with this?