Addicted to social networking? Beware!
The increasing popularity of social networking sites, emailing and texting may be injurious to public health. These technologies are leading to anxiety and reduced productivity, warn experts.health and fitness Updated: Sep 30, 2009 19:21 IST
Nada Kakabadse, a professor at Northampton University, says that these technologies are leading to anxiety, reduced productivity and a generation of smartphone orphans. She points out that people these days are increasingly becoming obsessed with information from an ever growing number of sources.
"One third of our sample suffer from technological addiction. They are addicted to their gadgets - phones, BlackBerries, laptops. It is a problem. It has negative consequences on their family life, their health and their social life," Sky News quoted her as saying.
Nada says that pop-up alerts often interrupt netizens from their primary task in favour of reading emails and then direct them to other online links. She says that people then suddenly feel low energy, become clumsy and have a spatial disorder.
The expert says that even though people become exhausted, they may check other stacked up behind the new one, have a quick look on Facebook, Twitter or something else, and it may be half an hour before we're back to that primary task. "You can not any more do effectively the task you were originally doing, even if it was routine. You will suddenly feel low energy, you become clumsy and you have a spatial disorder. You become exhausted," Nada said.
In a survey of 4,000 email users that the US firm AOL recently conducted in America, 46 per cent described themselves as being "hooked" on email.
Nearly 60 per cent had checked email in the bathroom, 15 per cent checked it in church, and 11 per cent had hidden the fact that they were checking it from those around them. And this is said to have given rise to the phenomenon of BlackBerry orphans, children who desperately fight to regain their parents' attention from the devices.
Susan Bailey, a principal lecturer at Northampton University, says that she need look no further for a techno-addict than herself. "I probably only sleep four hours a night. And immediately when I wake up I feel that I have to connect. My family would say it is a problem. I am trying to manage it," she said.
The answer, according to digital strategist Andrew Grill, is techno-management. "I think it wouldn't hurt to have people to help us understand how to relax with all this digital information," he said.
"I read an interesting tweet the other day about someone who learnt how to turn off the flashing light on their BlackBerry and it had apparently changed their life. They are now regulating their usage because they don't feel the need to pick it up every time it flashes," he added.
He says that it is about simple management and a little self control.