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Rules to BlackBerry By

(me reading emails on my BlackBerry while waiting to have my car inspected)

A year ago, you could have never convinced me that I'd be so attached to my CrackBerry...but yes, I too have fallen victim. As a business-woman, I feel it crucial to have access to the Internet and email at all times. Moreover, it's critical that I respond to my clients at all times as soon as possible. Thankfully though, I'm not too far gone. I have it set to cut off at a certain time at night and to cut on at a certain time in the morning. Also, I don't wear it on my person and don't look at it during meals. Sometimes you might even find it at the very bottom of my purse mingling with a few lone bobby-pins. But for those for whom your BlackBerry has become "an extension of your hand," let the following excerpts from this Forbes article serve as intervention:

Are You Addicted To Your BlackBerry? staff, April 2008

Its nickname, CrackBerry, says it all. There is no recreational use of Research in Motion's BlackBerry. It is a compulsive addiction, or you're not a user.

Academic studies back up the notion. One, by David Vance, assistant professor of accounting at Rutgers-Camden university, and Nada Kakabadse, professor of management and business research at the U.K.'s University of Northampton, found that a third of BlackBerry users show signs of addiction "similar to alcoholics."

"People may be spending less money on cars, they may be spending less money on their houses, but it turns out the BlackBerry is the one essential," Duncan Stewart, president of Duncan Stewart Asset Management, told The Associated Press.

The BlackBerry found its first big pool of users in corporate America. Helping with productivity and collaboration at work, it lets employees keep up with colleagues, customers and suppliers even while away from the office.

For business travelers, it proved a time-saving godsend, converting traveling dead time--at airports and en route to and from meetings, hotels and restaurants--into something productive, and allowing that extra half-hour of sleep that no longer needed to be sacrificed to answering e-mails on the laptop.

But, like addicts, users of these devices are not using the time savings and productivity gains to shorten their work hours. Instead, they work longer. Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at King's College London, found that two-thirds of users check work e-mails out of office hours and on holidays.

Getting more done, thanks to the speed of communication, doesn't necessarily enhance the quality of life.

Wilson found that a compulsion to reply to each new message led to constant changes of direction, which inevitably tired and slowed down the brain. The distractions of constant e-mails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration, he says, than taking cannabis.

Dr Jerald Block, writing in The American Journal of Psychiatry, has suggested that people who send excessive texts and e-mails many have a mental illness. There are four symptoms, Block says: suffering from feelings of withdrawal when a computer cannot be accessed; an increased need for better equipment; the need for more time to use it; and experiencing the negative repercussions of their addiction.

One solution: Don't slavishly respond to every e-mail. In Europe, it is increasingly considered ill-mannered to read an e-mail that arrives during a meal, let alone answer it, just as it would be considered rude to read a book at the table during dinner.

Social mores can change. Smoking was once acceptable in public too.

Stress and a compulsive addiction to overworking aren't solely caused by wireless push e-mail, though it makes it easier to get hooked. And there is a generation that has grown up expecting to connect 24/7 to friends and family by e-mail, IM and SMS that can separate work and social never-severed connectivity.

If you are not one of them, you don't have to go cold turkey. Remember, even the CrackBerry has an off button.


Natasha said…
Wow this is so true.
I"m not yet a crackberry addict, but hope to become soon! I need to step into the 21st century!
Hi. My name is Randi and I am a Crackberry addict. When my screen is locked, it says "Randi's Crackberry. If lost, please call xxx-xxx-xxxx." I need rehab.

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