I’ve been wondering about this… about myself. I spend an awful lot of time researching gadgets, virtual reality, AIs. I’m considering joining Second Life. I understand the difference between ‘crackers’ and ‘hackers’, and when I’m reading about ‘virtual reality’ as opposed to ‘simulated reality’. I’d rather chat online than in person.
Am I addicted? For a diagnosis, I went to Clara Moskowitz at LiveScience. Here’s her analysis:
How to Tell If You Are Addicted to Technology
By Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 25 January 2008 03:51 pm ET
They’re not called “Crackberries” for nothing. Some people may be as addicted to Blackberries and other personal electronics as junkies are to drugs, according to John O’Neill, director of addictions services for the Menninger Clinic in Houston.
These over-wired people are so focused on their gadgets, they neglect relationships with other people, O’Neill said. Communication aids such as texting and e-mail may actually hamper our abilities to have more important face-to-face conversations.
But some experts object to labeling the techno-savvy as addicts without verifying that they meet the precise psychological definition of addiction.
* In 2006, psychiatrists at Stanford University surveyed people over the phone to try to determine how compulsively they used the Internet. They found a sizable portion of respondents displayed troubling tendencies, but could not determine whether their use merited a medical diagnosis and said more research needed to be done.
* A 2006 article in the journal Perspectives in Psychiatric Care said the Internet can “promote addictive behaviors” and advocated formally recognizing its use as a possible addiction to improve treatment.
* Another research paper, published in 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology by a psychiatrist at Tel Aviv University, recommended that Internet addiction be regarded as an extreme disorder on par with gambling, sex addiction and kleptomania.
O’Neill admitted that there is not enough research to establish whether excessive technology use qualifies as addiction, but cited people who can’t sit through a movie without checking their cell phones or make it through dinner without peeking at their Blackberries as potential addicts.
“Technology can become more than a passing problem and more like an addiction,” he told LiveScience. He listed some danger signs: “You become irritable when you can’t use it. The Internet goes down and you lose your mind. You start to hide your use.”
He said he can see corollaries between drug and alcohol addiction and the way some people use technology.
But some experts object to calling any excessive behavior “addiction.” (more)