Technology, like stress, is the wily bookkeeper who keeps juggling the books, and not always in our favor. Lately, I’ve been listening to more and more discussion about BlackBerry addiction, so I started giving it some thought. Could you really be addicted to a PDA or wireless device and, if you were, what would be the signs that would tell you? And, is it “addiction” or “dependence?” There are differences. I have a feeling it fits more into the realm of dependence and, like any dependence, it definitely has a down side. BlackBerry is big and the most recent statistics on its sales indicate, according to CNN Money.com, that the quarter ending March 2008 saw $1.88 billion in sales and about 2.18 million new subscribers for just that quarter.
Signs of Dependence
When you look for dependence, you want to see if any of the following have been affected by, usually, a substance, but in this case it’s a wireless device.
- Are certain activities in your life reduced by your use of this device?
- Do you use it excessively?
- Do you find it nearly impossible to cut down on your use?
- Despite knowing that it causes you stress and tension in your family life, can you not stop using it?
- Do you spend large amounts of time using it or in wireless- device-related activities?
- If you can’t use it, do you have physical symptoms of sweating, anxiety and even nausea?
- Have you developed a tolerance that leads you to use it more and more?
Well, my friend, all of those are signs of dependence and let’s, for one moment, consider what this might do to you. Like an intrusive friend who seems to be helping you, this usage quickly becomes more important than anything else. You NEED it because you HAVE to be available and you NEED to keep up on things. Do you ever have it far from your side and where do you put it at night? Is it ever off? Do you jump when you get a call and does your heart beat increase?
Try one little thing to see how it might be causing you stress. When the signal comes through that you’ve got a message or a call, put your index and middle finger over your left wrist bone (where the pulse is) and count the beats. Record and date it somewhere. Then, at some other time, when you’re doing a relaxing activity, take your pulse. Is there a difference?
Okay, have you developed a dependence and, if so, what might you do about it? Being under constant stress is unhealthy both physically and mentally. The effect won’t be immediate, just like the work of that bookkeeper, but it will be there.