Text Messaging Addiction?

October 16, 2005 – 11:39 am

I am convinced that if you can do something, then there is an addiction for it. The BBC reports on a Scottish teenager who is being treated for text messaging and email addiction. Thats nuts, but it appears this kid definitely had issues:

“In the space of a year, ‘Steven’ spent £4,500 on text messaging.”

“He was sending about 700 texts a week and resigned from his job after bosses found out he had sent 8,000 e-mails in one month.”

“On any one day, he was sending about 300 e-mails to his girlfriend. He was texting her every day and probably spending £20 to £30 a week on texts.”

Damn, that poor girl! Can anyone say insecure psycho? Anyway, it appears that “Steven” is responding well to his treatment per the counselors who are working with him. The Renfrewshire Council on Alcohol, states they have never seen anything like this in 25 years of treating addictions.

So, what about Instant Messaging addiction? That can also be associated with “text messaging addiction” since you have to basically text type on mobile phones. Instant messaging though similar, is in its own bucket. You know, people who can’t get off the chat box, they are always logged in, on their computers or their phones. True and proud members of the I am “Online” or “Available” all the time brigade. I am not mocking it at all, in fact I am a member, only now I am a selective member. I use IM during the day at my desk, and for a while I also did the mobile login as well, mostly for business communcations while out of the office. While I found the mobile IM to be convenient at times, I also found it extremely annoying. I recently pulled back on my overall IM availability and found it to be a very nice change of pace. Its the interruption factor that got to me. Its simple, being “online” or “available” is an open invitation for a desktop or mobile intrusion. Can’t we have lives and a little time to ourselves? This I asked myself.

Welcome to the always on, instantly accessible human being. Please proceed with caution.

In short, run the technology, don’t let it run you. Responsible use of technology remains a challenge for alot of people. I am still learning myself where to draw the fine line.

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