WOW Word-Of-the-Week #405: iDisorder

May 10, 2012 by  

iDisorder – an obsession from needing to be connected to cell phones, computers, and social media.

Do you have a smart phone? Are you constantly checking it? Are you able to put it down and leave it for periods of time?

Larry Rosen, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills, has been studying the impact of technology on people for almost 30 years. He says, “People aren’t stressed anymore from being scared of computers and other devices, they’re stressed from too much of them.”

UT writer John Wilkens wrote, “Rosen fears that the need to be connected all the time leaves many people teetering on the edge of serious psychiatric problems: narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, voyeurism, attention-deficit disorder, depression. He got the idea for ‘iDisorder’ by going to the movies. A self-described film junkie he started noticing a change in audience behavior. It used to be everybody turned their phones off before the movie started. Now, he said, some just can’t do without. They’re addicted. They duck down trying to shield the telltale light while they try to read or text. As soon as the movie is over almost everyone reaches for their phones.”

“I read myself in everything I wrote,” said Rosen. “I’m pro-technology. I think they are amazingly powerful tools. But I think some of us have forgotten that they are tools. A tool is something you pick up when you need it. It shouldn’t be a part of you, an appendage. I see people in restaurants eating fish with a side of smart phone. I see people constantly patting their pockets, suffering from ‘phantom vibration syndrome,’ the feeling that a phone is buzzing even when it isn’t.”

And boy do I agree! I have no intention of getting my phone to do anymore than it does. Which is make and get calls. I see couples at dinner, not talking, but texting and playing with their phones. What a shame!

I think this week’s focus should be on how to eliminate the chances of getting the “iDisorder” disease. Do you have an obsession with staying connected to your gadgets? Do you have trouble sleeping because your phone is next to your bed? Are you in charge of your technology or is it in charge of you?

Reader Responses

“That opens “i” up to a whole myriad of “connected” maladies.  iPain, iStrain, iGrief, iDepression, iRash, etc., etc…I’ll let you and your audience cogitate on the symptoms for each of those maladies” – John

“I use my cellphone to make and get calls. That is it. The phone has the ability to take pictures, but I don’t take photos, even with a regular camera. I leave the photography to my wife and daughters, who are all shutterbugs. I don’t even like to pose for photos. The best photos are the most spontaneous. Cellphones, Smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, computers all get in the way of relationships. And relationships are what life is about. But we are so connected to our gadgets and doodads that we don’t make time for those relationships. When I go to church, I turn off the cellphone and leave it in the car. I don’t even take it into church because I don’t want to be disturbed. Another pet peeve of mine regarding ALL phones is call waiting. It is so rude to be in the middle of a conversation and someone says, “I have to take this call.” It is also frustrating. In many instances, the phone call was not urgent. If it is that important, whoever it is will call back. I can’t tell you how many times I have just let the other call hold until I was finished with the conversation I was having. Then I will check the message and return the call. My father does not like the idea that I won’t drop the call I am on to pick up his call. I just will not. Even with my in-laws. We and our calls ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT. And don’t get me started about people not being able to drive and talk on their phones at the same time because they are not coordinated. I will relate one story about my youngest brother. He eventually bought my father’s business. I took him with me to a basketball game. When I picked him up, he spent a few minutes hooking up his cellphone in the car. In addition to the cellphone, he had a pager. While we are at the game, every 15 minutes, he left his seat to go to the lobby to either answer a page or talk to a customer. He could not be away from his business even for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. It was as if he was on a leash and could not get away. That was the last time that I asked him to a sporting event, because I could not catch up with him on his life and what he was doing – besides business. That epitomizes how attached to these devices people are. And it is too bad.  They are the ones missing out on life. Thanks for the word, Susan. You have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe


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