Kicking that nasty BlackBerry habit

Summary:My BlackBerry of late has been such a central part of my life, the idea of being separated from it makes my heart skip a beat with worry.As a journalist, I get a lot of emails -- at least 30 emails per day on average.

My BlackBerry of late has been such a central part of my life, the idea of being separated from it makes my heart skip a beat with worry.

As a journalist, I get a lot of emails -- at least 30 emails per day on average. But because I have multiple email accounts, TwitterBerry notifications and the Facebook application installed on my phone, I can get up to 100 notifications in a working day.

My all-round behaviour has altered as a result. My friends will hear the dulcet tones of BBPro_GungHo, the default message notification, and my reaction will be that of stress and frustration. "Oh my God, not another damn email!" yet on the inside I jump up and down shouting, "YAY! I'm popular!". It's odd behaviour, but I bet I am not the only person who does it.

The Daily Mail, still a way away from being recognised as a reputable source of information, claims research carried out shows BlackBerry addictions being similar to that of drug addictions. The focus of the world around BlackBerry users becomes so narrow, they almost blank out parts of everyday life that happens around them.

Barack Obama, before he took office, was told he would not be able to send emails from his BlackBerry. Well, if you're the leader of the free world and the most powerful man on the planet, it turned out he can override what his security agencies recommend. He's still in full swing with his device, which could well be the most secure device on Earth, after saying, "administrators would have to pry it from my hands" [after becoming inaugurated.]

MIT conducted studies which resolved that too much BlackBerry "can cause serious stress". Again, true. When Elliot threw his BlackBerry against the wall, smashing the screen and denting the casing, I felt this would be a perfect time to tell him to calm down. Little did I know that telling someone to calm down when in fact, all they want to do is be angry, is not the best idea.

According to WBZTV:

"As a result of the MIT studies, some companies are looking at forcing employees to take breaks from their BlackBerry's at certain times of the day, possibly to turn them off or put them in a box. But [a researcher on the study] says the addiction is so strong that no company has been able to do that yet."

Just the other day, I was walking towards my friend's house, BlackBerry in hand replying to a Facebook message, and start walking over the zebra crossing. The crossing are pedestrians' right-of-way: any traffic coming must stop without fail to let the person cross as and when someone waits to cross. However, I never wait to cross and just start walking which can yield hilarious results of people slamming on their brakes. On this occasion, I didn't see the car speeding round the corner, far too fast. And had I not had my BlackBerry in my hand with eyes glazed over with Facebook deliciousness, I probably wouldn't have a massive gash on my leg as a result of being hit by the car.

Maybe the BlackBerry addiction could start the next generation of workaholics... could you give up your BlackBerry for an hour, a day or even a week?

Topics: Hardware, BlackBerry, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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