July 31, 2011

Technology Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is famous for their program to help people attain and maintain sobriety.
With the latest addiction being everything technology, there is now a movement toward "technology detox" or the AA equivalent, Technology Anonymous.
I remember reading months ago about people so addicted to the Internet and online video games that they literally had to be institutionalized to get them to eat, sleep, and return to some sort of normal life again.
Apparently, technology taken to the extreme can be no less an addiction than smoking, drinking, of fooling around.
And there is even a Facebook page for Internet and Technology Addiction Anonymous (ITAA).
I've recently even heard of challenges for people to turn off their technology for even 24 hours; apparently this is a tough thing even for just that one day--wonder if you can do it?
The Wall Street Journal (5 July 2011) reported on someone who "signed up for a special [vacation] package called "digital detox," [that] promised a 15% discount if you agree to leave your digital devices behind or surrender them at check in."
The message is clear that people "need a push to take a break from their screens."
Here are brief some statistics from the WSJ on technology addiction even while on vacation:
- 79% expect to remain connected for all or some of the time on their next vacation.
- 68% (up from 58% in 2010) say they will check email while on vacation--daily or more frequently--for work.
- 33% admitted to hiding from friends and family to check email on vacation.
- Also, 33% check email on vacation while engaged in fast-paced activities such as skiing, biking, and horseback riding.
For people routinely checking email as many as 50-100 times a day, going on vacation and leaving technology behind can be a real shock to our social computing systems. Should I even mention the possibility of not logging unto Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flikr, etc. I see people convulsing and going into withdrawal just at the thought.
So what is this technology addiction we are all on? There's no nicotine or alcohol or testosterone involved (except in some extreme video games, maybe).
Incredibly, for many technology is the first thing we check in the morning and last before we close our eyes at night.
It even lays on the night table right next to us--our spouse on one side and our smartphone on the other. Which do you cuddle with more?
It's scary--technology is an addiction that is not physical, but rather emotional.
It is the thrill of who is calling, emailing, texting, friending, or following us and what opportunities will it bring.
Like Vegas or a lottery ticket...technology holds for us the possibility of love, friendships, sexual encounters, new job opportunities, fame, fortune, travel, and so on.
There is no limit, because technology is global and unbridled and so is our ambition, desires, hopes, and even some greed.
(Source Photo: here)


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