Is the BlackBerry a Crackberry?

Posted on November 7, 2006

An ABC News article says some experts think that an addiction to the communication tools like the BlackBerry is similar to alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. The addiction has even been dubbed as crackberry and it is much worse than BlackBerry thumb.

"There's an adrenaline high that people who use technology constantly get from trying to balance the BlackBerry, the cell phone - trying to keep all these balls in the air at the same time," author Bryan Robertson said.

To make time for the gadgets, some users will "give up time with family," Rutgers University School of Business Gayle Porter said. "They'll give up getting together with friends. They'll give up taking care of themselves, getting enough sleep - things like that."

She's researching a paper that will argue that businesses could be sued by employees who feel they were encouraged or even forced to stay connected 24 hours a day and then developed an addiction to their gadget.

For some people the addiction to the devices really has caused problem. The Workers Comp Insider has an article that includes this warning.
The trends are clear, the dangers incontrovertible. Uncontrolled use of Blackberry-type devices can lead to physical, mental and social debilitation. Someone is bound to announce the development of a new 12 step program for Crackberry addicts. The road to recovery will begin with the assertion that "I am an addict." Meanwhile, employers should develop comprehensive written warnings to accompany the provision of any PDAs. These guidelines should set clear parameters for appropriate Blackberry use. With half the marriages in this country already ending in divorce, employers need to avoid any possible inference that work - and work-provided equipment - is a significant cause of marital discord. In the ever-expanding definition of risk management, this is one area where increased vigilance - and a few disclaimers - are definitely in order.
It hard to know what workers or employers should do about a device that many find crucial for keeping up with email and news. For those that feel addicted to a communication gadget simply trying to use the gadget less sounds like an obvious remedy. People do get addicted to technologies like video games so the fact that another technology causes addiction should not be a major surprise.

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