Would you rather text someone than talk to them face to face? Then you might have technology overload, which means you engage in addictive behavior towards technological devices According to John O'Neill, the director of addictions services at the Menninger Clinic, "I think [technology overload] shares some of the same components as people who become addicted to alcohol and drugs in that we start to see that someone cannot really put it down and cannot stop the use of it even when there are some consequences." So what are the symptoms of this life-ruining addiction? O'Neill tells Reuters: "Using text messages, email and voice mail when face-to-face interaction would be more appropriate, or limiting time with friends and family to tend to your email, return phone calls or to surf the Internet." Hmm, by those rubrics, 90% of our friends are incurably-addicted to their sweet, sweet tech.
We've seen the perils of tech-obsession firsthand: Earlier this month a reader emailed to complain about a business dinner she attended, where "there was music, champagne, the food was amazing, the setting lavish. But did the men at my table pay any attention? No. They were all playing with their iPhones." And she's not the only one to forfeit male attention to Steve Jobs. Our very own guest columnist, Heather declared herself an iPhone widow last year. "Wherein we used to actually interact with one another during cab rides or walks or, you know, dinner," Heather lamented, "Now I sit there and watch him make love to that damn phone, his unblinking eyes glazed over with rapt-geek puppy love."
But guys aren't the only ones with geek love to go around. My own boyfriend tried to ban laptops after work hours in our household. The first day he made me go cold turkey and I was relegated to answering emails on my BlackBerry in the bathroom. Since then I've maybe gone one night without perusing the internet for at least ten minutes. But I'm not addicted at all! Though if someone destroyed my wireless network I would cut them in a hot second.