Tech addict: When you just can't switch off
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 22/06/2010 18:06
Scientists are only just beginning to study the effects of technology on our health. But when does a passion for gadgets turn into an addiction with symptoms that include headaches and back pain? Rob Sharp reports on a very modern affliction
Have you ever interrupted childbirth, coitus, a wedding or a graduation ceremony, a funeral or a minute's silence to send a text? Does the thought of going cold turkey from technology make you want to daub your social networking status in your own blood across the nearest brick wall? Is your ideal six-month sabbatical from work an extended period playing World of Warcraft in a windowless bedroom?
If so, then box up your broadband, swallow your SIM and visit Capio Nightingale Hospital in London, the location of Britain's first technology-addiction centre. You could be the country's latest gadget junkie, reared on years of laptop hogging and online high living. People are contracting the computer bug early: according to research published last September by Cranfield University School of Management in Northampton, of 260 secondary school pupils surveyed, 26 per cent spent more than six hours a day on the internet. This battalion of hi-tech tykes yielded 63 per cent who felt they were addicted to the web, 53 per cent who had a compulsive attachment to their mobile phones and 62 per cent who were bought their first computer before hitting the age of eight. But is technophilia really such a plague?