[AI] BlackBerry leading to irrational behaviour among users

Shadab Husain shadabhsn at gmail.com
Sun May 11 21:13:50 EDT 2008

Sun, May 11 03:05 PM

Melbourne, May 11 (ANI): Much like drugs and alcohol, the BlackBerry
smartphone has become an addiction that is not only controlling lives
and increasing
stress loads, but is even threatening relationships with loved ones.

This high-tech gadget nicknamed 'CrackBerry' is causing irrational and
damaging behaviour among owners who can't say no.

Academics and researchers said that they are increasingly seeing
people who show addictive traits when away from the gadget.

Users have become so addicted that obsessively check their emails,
like hiding in the toilet to read them, and putting them under their
pillow in bed so
they can answer them during the night.

The growing concern is that users are suffering withdrawal symptoms
more linked to drugs and alcohol when forced to disconnect from the

Dr Anthony Grant, director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at Sydney
University, said that he was aware of clients who are hooked on to

"It's a growing practice in many financial institutions where
BlackBerries are confiscated in meetings and put into a box, and
people get very anxious about
this. It's quite painful when it's taken away," News.com.au quoted
him, as saying.

"This incessant exchange of information - a bombardment of information
- has become a major factor increasing stress in the contemporary
workplace," he

Dr Kristine Dery, Sydney University researcher, examined BlackBerry
use and has found that some workers quickly become addicted to using
them, while others
go to extremes to avoid the gadget.

The research found that some employees given the device when they went
on holidays were very reluctant to hand them back at the end.

However, other employees found them insufferable, with one person even
taking a holiday in a remote part of China so they could not be
contacted from work.

Dr Julie Cogin, from the Australian School of Business at the
University of NSW, said she had encountered many 'CrackBerrys' during
the corporate training
courses she teaches.

"I've heard stories about partners of BlackBerry users asking for a
table for three at restaurants. One is for them, one's for their
partner and one's for
the partner's BlackBerry," she said.

"People are becoming increasingly agitated about the distraction it
causes to home lives.

"The people around you feel alienated when you answer your emails
during lunch," she added.

She believes that addiction for BlackBerry particularly affect those
working for multinational corporations with colleagues operating on
different time
zones across the world, and it takes an awful lot of discipline to
effectively manage the device.

"I think it provides employees with a lot of flexibility to stay in
touch. However, you need the discipline to turn them off," she said.

"I'm concerned with what this is doing to the promotion of leadership
around the world because leaders are not doing the job of coaching

"If you can always be contacted, you're not encouraging your staff to
make decisions in your absence.

"And if you immediately answer your emails and phone calls any time of
the day, you're encouraging that kind of behaviour. You're setting
yourself up,"
she added. (ANI)

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