ABC Finds a New Troubling Addiction: The BlackBerry
Perhaps itâ€™s 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.
Thatâ€™s the spin ABCâ€™s â€śWorld News with Charles Gibsonâ€ť recently gave about the BlackBerry, the portable email devices made by Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM). The segment likened the little devices to â€śalcohol, drugs and gamblingâ€ť in their power to â€śdisconnectâ€ť people from other people. But missing from correspondent Dan Harrisâ€™s August 23 report: more than three-fourths of the deviceâ€™s users say the e-mail device has improved the way they balance work and leisure.
â€śFinally tonight, the downside of keeping in touch,â€ť anchor Gibson teased the last story for the August 23 newscast. Warning that â€śthese kinds of devices can become electronic leashes,â€ť he introduced a story by Dan Harris on how â€śfor many people, the habit has become an addiction.â€ť
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 â€śBlackBerry addiction is often ridiculed,â€ť â€śthere are some experts who believe that the possibility of getting addicted to communications technology is real, and really dangerous,â€ť Harris warned before featuring â€śDr. Bryan Robinson, who treats people with technology addiction.â€ť
Robinson cautioned that some people â€śmay actually need counseling or a 12-step program such as Workaholics Anonymous.â€ť
While some BlackBerry users might need counseling to alleviate stress or anxiety, Harris didnâ€™t find anyone to argue that obsessive BlackBerry use is a symptom of being a â€śworkaholic,â€ť not a cause thereof. Indeed, Harris set out to show the e-mail device as a bemusing nuisance to its users.
â€śDo you resent your BlackBerry?â€ť Harris asked a man on the street.
â€śEvery day. Every day,â€ť 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 â€śmore 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€ť
â€śIt has helped me manage things without being [at] the office all the time,â€ť Jim Craig, a New York corporate spokesman, told Reuters.