Friday 9 May 2008

The promise of increasing addiction ?

Is technology driving an increase in addictions?   Many people now state that they can't bear to be without their mobile phone.  Many corporate folk are similarly panic-stricken if they are parted from their Blackberry device for any amount of time.  Believe me - I work with some of them!  Many of those who are games console fans or hardcore PC gamers become extremely immersed in the environments that those games create.  Then there are the hardened social networkers, bloggers and twitters, who by the nature of trying to keep their net based contributions up-to-date, spend large amounts of time being connected and posting new stuff!   

As more people have more personal internet connected gadgets about their person, they will spend more time connected and therefore involved in communicating, information gathering, transacting and being entertained.  And because these devices will be personal to them, they are more inclined to become attached to them emotionally and therefore potentially addicted.

In the future, the use of the Internet will be so ingrained into society and the way things are done, it will be impossible to accomplish some tasks without a connection.  Already it is impossible for some classes of business to file a tax return without using the net.  And at present we are only in the very early infancy of the Internet.  As virtual world environments become even more immersive in their experience, and their use becomes even more widespread, both in business and people's personal lives, they will also lend themselves to addictive tendencies.  

A final thought in this space is that many people are busier and more stressed in their daily working lives, especially by increasing information overload as connectivity provides more ways for them to be contacted, tracked and monitored, more may then turn to technology based stimuli to relax with when they manage to be "off-duty".  This additionally provides for other technology time! 

So it appears that there will be many pressures on people and reasons why technology could drive more addiction ... maybe health services need to take this into account when considering future scenarios?  

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