ABC Finds a New Troubling Addiction: The BlackBerry
Perhaps itâs a symptom of a strong economy and a high standard of living, but often the media find negative angles to technology that makes our lives, and our work, easier.
Thatâs the spin ABCâs âWorld News with Charles Gibsonâ recently gave about the BlackBerry, the portable email devices made by Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM). The segment likened the little devices to âalcohol, drugs and gamblingâ in their power to âdisconnectâ people from other people. But missing from correspondent Dan Harrisâs August 23 report: more than three-fourths of the deviceâs users say the e-mail device has improved the way they balance work and leisure.
âFinally tonight, the downside of keeping in touch,â anchor Gibson teased the last story for the August 23 newscast. Warning that âthese kinds of devices can become electronic leashes,â he introduced a story by Dan Harris on how âfor many people, the habit has become an addiction.â
Harris began with a story on a hotel manager from Chicago who would check his BlackBerry while brushing his teeth or having dinner with his wife. While âBlackBerry addiction is often ridiculed,â âthere are some experts who believe that the possibility of getting addicted to communications technology is real, and really dangerous,â Harris warned before featuring âDr. Bryan Robinson, who treats people with technology addiction.â
Robinson cautioned that some people âmay actually need counseling or a 12-step program such as Workaholics Anonymous.â
While some BlackBerry users might need counseling to alleviate stress or anxiety, Harris didnât find anyone to argue that obsessive BlackBerry use is a symptom of being a âworkaholic,â not a cause thereof. Indeed, Harris set out to show the e-mail device as a bemusing nuisance to its users.
âDo you resent your BlackBerry?â Harris asked a man on the street.
âEvery day. Every day,â he replied as Harris laughed.
But that opinion is in the minority, according to a study released August 24 by executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY). On August 25, Reuters picked up on the recent survey which found that âmore than three-quarters, or 77 percent of respondents, said they believe mobile communication devices primarily enhance their work/life balance rather than impede it.â
âIt has helped me manage things without being [at] the office all the time,â Jim Craig, a New York corporate spokesman, told Reuters.