Addiction to Cell Phones and Other Technological Devices
Cell phones have become standard apparatus in 21st-century existence. It has been estimated that American cell phone subscribers have increased from 38 million to 219 million since 1996. Cell phones are seen as a requirement by many in our world of technological communication.
Can cell phone usage become addictive? More and more people believe it can. Dependence has developed on cell phones such that many individuals describe feeling insecure, anxious, and fearful if required to turn the cell phone off.
When Is It Too Much?
What are signs that cell phone use is problematic? Here are a few:
Cell phone bills that cause financial hardships
Encountering negative consequences at school and work because of cell phone use
Feeling a constant need to be on the cell phone
Relationship problems due to excessive time on the cell phone
Using a cell phone at times when it's dangerous to do so, such as in heavy traffic
Cell phone usage continues to escalate
Irritation and frustration when others request getting off the cell phone
Obsessive behavior related to cell phone usage
Talking about the latest in technology, cell phones are now capable of many more functions than conversation. In reality, they have become minicomputers with which a person can access e-mail, plan her day, play games, and watch a movie.
Cell phone usage while driving is considered dangerous by many — so much so that state legislatures are taking action. Five states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands prohibit hand-held cell phone usage while driving. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia ban cell phone use by novice drivers. Many states ban cell phone use in specific circumstances.
Believe it or not, cell phones also affect one's brain. Cell phones send off electromagnetic fields that excite the brain. The cortical area of the brain, which is responsible for movement and language, is stimulated when exposed to cell phone usage. Research into the physiological effects of cell phones is still in the infancy stage, and at this point it is unknown whether the effects are enough to cause damage.
The list of technological devices available for work, communication, and/or entertainment is almost endless.
MP3 players are devices that compress music, meaning they reduce the amount of computerized space required to store a song. While a compact disc may have 12 to 16 songs per disc, an MP3 player can store hundreds of songs.
An iPod is a portable media player that allows one to store photos, play videos, games, music, and manage calendars, among other things.
A BlackBerry device can be used to e-mail, phone, map, organize, game, and access the Internet.
The Wii is an interactive gaming system that attaches to a television set. Individuals can use it to play games online or live, alone or with others.
The American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association are considering whether video game addiction is a legitimate diagnosis. A new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for release in 2012. There is no agreement concerning the diagnosis at this time. However, the compulsive nature of gaming is unquestionable in certain individuals and should be closely monitored.
This is just a sampling of the technological devices available. In terms of addiction, they all have the potential of taking control of a person's life.