Nowadays we can easily notice young people – and even young children – playing with their gadgets everywhere they go. Laptop, portable video game, handphone, mp3 player and BlackBerry or other smart phones. Technology and those sophisticated tools are created as ‘tools’ for human being. They are supposedly help us to finish our tasks and responsibility in a more efficient way. But what we are facing now is way different. Our gadgets are the main obstacles for us to be effective with the tasks and responsibility – of course, when we used them excessively!
Crackberries is the nickname used for those BlackBerry users who become hooked up with the technology and act similarly with those junkies – drugs, sex addiction, gambling and kleptomania. Therefore, it is can be said that crackberries are also prone to experience mental health problems. Addictive users can only survive a few minutes without checking on their emails, messages, messengers and twitter. One obvious sign is when they focus on their gadgets and ignoring those aroun them.
The first known effect is we are becoming prone to distractions or interruptions. An article in TIME magazine explores about how people become obsessive and addicted to their gadgets and bring disruption to their works, thoughts and private lives. The article also wrote about the result of a study by Basex, to 1,000 officeworkers in New York City and found out that interruptions at the workplace has a high cost of $588 billion a year! This number is an add-up of daily interruptions of 2.1 hours or 28% of the workday. You can count the pile up of those two-hour of distractions!
Another research by Gloria Mark and Victor Gonzales from the University of California, to 36 officeworkers, also found out the high price of distractions during working hours. At average, workers only devoted 11 minutes to a project – before their email reminders beep, got a knock on their door/cubicle or the ring of their phone. And more surprisingly, those workers need ‘a stunning 25 minutes to return to their original task’. This distraction ‘blows away the goals you’ve established’, said Mary Czerwinski, a senior researcher at Microsoft, especially when it is done at the beginning and the end of a task.
The same detrimental effects also attack children and teenagers. Andrew Kakabadse, a professor of International Management Development from Cranfield mentioned that 59.2% students are using information from the internet and inserting straightly into their schoolwork without any attempts of changing or reading it. Furthermore, 1/3 of those students do not know that their action can be considered as plagiarism.Socially, this crackberries epidemic hamper face-to-face conversations, making us losing our spatial judgment, increase irritability when gadgets are not working and also decreasing the space of private life.
Since the age of users are getting younger, we believe that we have to do prevention actions to protect our future generations from excessive use of gadgets. Parents need to gain knowledge on the detrimental effects of giving access to their children at very young age. There are many gadget-misused cases which involve children – such as: playing a porn movie at the school library using his parent’s laptop or flash disk – not to mention reckless parents who save their private photos unlocked in their share laptop! Children are prone to be exposed in such things in their early age and we believe that it has effects on their mental health – later, if it is not now.
Some parents do not understand the reason why they give their young children BlackBerry and let them use it without supervision. It is important for parents to understand every step that they take when it comes to their children. It seems that they know how to update themselves with the latest gadgets – and put the information into minimum.
We surely won’t be able to stop the epidemic – but we still can choose to be wiser users. What’s your choice?