Caught over-wired!

hooked on A growing number of people can’t do without laptops and mobiles.

If you are heading for your ‘vacation’ with accessories like two laptops, a wireless router, a smart-phone, ipod, chances are you over-wired! According to a research by John O'Neill, Director of Addictions Services for the Menninger Clinic in Houston, USA, these people are as addicted to their electronic devices as junkies to drugs, these over-wired people are so focused on their gadgets, they neglect relationships with other people. Communication aids, such as SMS and e-mail, may actually hamper our abilities to have more important face-to-face conversations.

Says Nitya Dayal, co-founder of an Internet start-up, Muziboo, “The truth is we cannot live without technology. We don’t step out unless we have either our GPRS working or the place that we go to has Internet connection. For me, one of the reasons for the attachment is because we run a web business. The other reason is that Internet has become the biggest connection to the outside world. I would not call this an addiction. It is more of a necessity today but unfortunately it might turn out to be like cocaine.”
A small-scale study of 360 people carried out by Professor Nada of Northampton University has said that up to one-third of software professionals were addicted to technology. “People could become addicted to just about anything,” she says.

“We are creatures of habit and we can get addicted to quite unusual things. Technology has become interesting over the past 10 years with the Internet and everything. It is much simpler and much more portable which makes it more accessible. You would be surprised how many people had their PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) or Blackberry next to their bed heads,” she adds.

A growing number of people are becoming addicted to their mobile phones, Blackberries and other digital devices, researchers warn. Those who are addicted will get up in the middle of the night and pick up messages on their PDAs two or three times a night.
Says Avinash Johnson, a software professional, “Addiction of any form is bad, you have to follow the Buddha principle that everything in excess is bad.”

So how harmful is this addiction really? Ashish Sarda, an MBA student, says although technology is an integral part of his lifestyle, it could be harmful, if indulged in excessively, “People who are addicted to technology are highly unaware of what is happening around, at times, we don’t give the right reaction to right people. And this does hamper their relationships and their work ultimately.”

But Reena Mathur, a self-confessed gadget freak disagrees, and feels that it’s a harmless indulgence, “Almost everyone gets addicted to technology if they love technology and if they get comfortable with it. People are using technology to better their lives and it’s labelled as an addiction. Back in the 1950s, people were addicted to their landline phones because they didn't want to go back to writing letters and sending telegrams,” she says.

Sums up Nitya, “There is no denying that technology can suck you in. Especially for me, since my husband and I work from home. We are living in our own little world that are limited to electronic frequencies. The skill is to maintain a healthy ‘tech-life’ balance.”

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