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December 01, 2005

Crackberry, Etc.

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Researchers in England have found that letting yourself be buffeted about by email, Blackberries, phone messages, etc., can destroy your concentration and lower your IQ even more than smoking pot does. Excerpt:

Respondents' minds were all over the place as they faced new questions and challenges every time an email dropped into their inbox. Productivity at work was damaged and the effect on staff who could not resist trying to juggle new messages with existing work was the equivalent, over a day, to the loss of a night's sleep ... The average IQ loss was measured at 10 points, more than double the four point mean fall found in studies of cannabis users.

Meanwhile, the New York Times' Sarah Kershaw reports that a new psychological dysfunction has been identified: Internet Addiction Disorder. Excerpt:

Dr. Cash and other professionals say that people who abuse the Internet are typically struggling with other problems, like depression and anxiety. But, they say, the Internet's omnipresent offer of escape from reality, affordability, accessibility and opportunity for anonymity can also lure otherwise healthy people into an addiction.

Now, where was I? Oh, right: off to my Blogaholics Anonymous meeting. Tonight's Thursday, right?



posted by Michael at December 1, 2005


Why is there an entire industry in our world which makes enjoying anything an "addiction." Gee, if people do>i/> happen to be depressed and anxious, what in God's name is so dysfunctional about a largely free and informative place like the internet? Better to overeat/everdrink/seduce children/contemplate the abyss? It sounds like it might be a source of comfort and company, provides interesting things to read, might give them an idea for a good vacation, might make a friend. Why is it that the mental "health" industry is so quick to identify anything that people might be getting something from into..."wellll too much of anything is suspicious...much better to get addicted to, say, appointments with a therapist, eh?" How utterly corrupt and obnoxious.

Posted by: annette on December 2, 2005 10:17 AM

Wha' did you say? I didn't catch it: I was too busy trying to go through my voice mail and read email and this blog simultaneously.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on December 2, 2005 12:33 PM

So you're saying I should smoke dope instead, right? ;]

Posted by: claire on December 2, 2005 2:56 PM

annette: "Why is it that the mental "health" industry is so quick to identify anything that people might be getting something from into..."wellll too much of anything is suspicious...much better to get addicted to, say, appointments with a therapist, eh?" How utterly corrupt and obnoxious."

[helping professional] You're just in denial!!! [/helping professional]

I suspect it's because bureaucracies will always behave like bureaucracies. Jobs for the boys, in other words. When you set as the norm a state which no human being has ever experienced - total vapid tranquility - then your services will always be in demand. I'm waiting for the day when the last emotion/habit/personality trait is reclassified as a syndrome needing treatment. Which one will it be I wonder? (Oops, now I'm being paranoid.)

I wonder what the world would be like if no one had any "syndromes" at all. The workers in Metropolis spring to mind.

Posted by: Brian on December 2, 2005 11:49 PM

Hey interesting blogg comments and site :)

Posted by: Maryam on December 3, 2005 5:29 AM

As I was on deadline writing my weekly column—and running right up against it as usual—something came into my inbox which I felt obliged to throw right onto my blog, knowing as I did it that my editor would know that I had done just that. And he called me on it later. But I was compelled. It had to be done that instant. It couldn't wait.

Posted by: anne thompson on December 4, 2005 1:16 PM

I actually do think there will soon be a whole variety of internet related mental illnesses of withdrawl and addiction. Will there be a health warning soon on appearing on our monitors as the browser goes up?

Posted by: Neil on December 5, 2005 2:19 PM

That's a depressing thought, Neil, but I can totally picture it. Or worse yet, browsers will have timers on them like they already have at public libraries so they automatically shut off after a certain period of time.

Posted by: claire on December 5, 2005 7:32 PM

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