technology overload

1418174700000 » Tagged as: technology , Tagged as: Internet Addiction Disorder , Tagged as: Google Glass , Tagged as: Facebook , Tagged as: Social Media




Internet Addiction Disorder - IAD, was the diagnosis when a man had to be treated for the addiction to Google Glass, wearing it 18 hours a day. He would remove it only to sleep and wash. Google Glass could be the nearest thing to using our mind to see the world beyond our normal vision. This person, and may be others, may not be able to distinguish between his own dreams, and what he saw on the glass. This first ever case of addiction to Google Glass had been reported in September 2013, at the US Navy Substance Abuse and Recovery Programme. But the term Internet Addiction Disorder had been coined in 1995 by Dr. Ivan Goldberg as a hoax, by applying criteria from gambling addiction on to the internet. A study in 2011 with university students in several countries had shown that "most students were unable to voluntarily avoid their tech gadgets for one full day".


Already major hospitals in India, China, South Korea and Singapore have opened up technology de-addiction clinics. Doctors at the National Institute of Mental Health And Neuroscience had reported that it is mostly children that are brought to their clinic. In Singapore 87% of the population, which include young children, are using smartphones.


It may be new with this glass, but wearable technology has been with us for a long time, beginning with our wristwatch. People could be obsessed with time and schedules, watching every minute, every second. Some would get completely disoriented if they were unable to wear a watch, while others would wear a watch, sometimes the most expensive watch available in the market, but still fail to be punctual or keep to a pre-arranged schedule. That too could be considered a disorder by some, claiming that such people tried to defy time and strict schedules, due to other mental or personality conditions.


Some people are not really addicted to hi-tech, but try to appear to be, appear to be busy, as sometimes 'busy' has become a status symbol. There are people who receive and respond to as many as 500 emails a day, and when they are from all around the globe, there are no off-hours, or shut off times. People who are obsessed with the fear of being disconnected get into the F-State - Frantic, Frazzled, Frenzied. But they love it.


Recent studies have shown that the brain patterns of a technology addict are no different from those of a drug addict. Once we get addicted to life in cyberspace we get shut off from the real world we live in, from our immediate family and friends, so we could be with our friends and business associate all over the globe. We do not have to say good-by to anyone anywhere, but we also fail to say hello to those who are right near us, at home, at office or at a dinner table.


It is this addiction which probably caused more people to take photos and videos of a recent train accident in our country, before trying to help the accident victims. Such people may have believed that their priority was to post the information on-line, rather than help the people. This also makes us empathize and sympathize with the victims we see online, rather than with the beggar on the road, or a crying child, or an elderly, vision impaired person trying to cross the road.


We are said to be in information overload, but Ray Bradbury had said, "whether we're starved for information of suffocated by information, the end result is about the same''.


We are also said to be in technology overload today. But we have been in overload of one thing or other from the time we began using our forelegs to develop tools and equipment. When we talk about addiction, it immediately reminds us about drugs and alcohol. But man becomes addicted to many other things and habits, which are equally, or sometimes more, harmful than substances listed as addictive. Probably one of the earliest substances to which man became addicted to was meat. We do not know when the vegetarian human first tasted the rotting flesh of a dead animal. It could have been during a famine, or when he had no access to any fruits, leaves of roots. But some men would have found the carrion as very tasty and thus wanted to consume more of it. We are also addicted to many other harmful substances, which are not banned by governments, like sugar, and wheat flower. One addictive substance which could be easily banned is tobacco and cigarettes, because governments could ban tobacco cultivation and manufacture and sale of cigarettes, which are all done legally and openly now.


Internet led to social networks leading to Social Network Addiction, which really means Approval Addiction. A Mexican study found that Facebook addicts (a category defined by reportedly spending over four hours everyday on Facebook) had a higher incidence of depression and lower physical and general self-esteem levels than less frequent Facebook users. Among some Facebook addicts we also find 'Cyber Exhibitionism' changing their profile photos often, which is also a part of their 'Approval addiction'.


In New York, three years ago, a Twitter addict gave up his job and separated from his wife because he refused to give up his twitter account at which he spent most of his time. He would be called a Tweetoholic.


We are all addicted to one thing or another, always, when we give up one addiction, we are driven to another. Reading too is an addiction, which has even been called a solitary vice. Reading the newspaper first thing in the morning is an addiction. It just shows not all addictions are harmful, either to the addict or the society.



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