Technology Addiction Takes Over 21st Century
Posted on 02 September 2009
This is a guest post from Brian Camen, a PR professional in the USA. I connected with him via the PROpenMic website, and he kindly invited me to contribute a guest post to his blog, so I wrote about “Marketing is most sought-after skill, say employers”. Now, I’m returning the favour by inviting Brian to write on my blog about a timely topic: Internet addiction.
reSTART, the first Internet Addiction Disorder rehabilitation center in the United States, opened in July this year. The 45-day program costs US$14,500 plus additional fees. Currently, the most visible accounts of Internet Addiction Disorder are people addicted to online video games.
According to Mashable, reSTART’s first patient was a 19-year-old who could not remove himself from a computer game, “World of Warcraft”. Addiction to computer games (which are played on the Internet, with/versus other people) is a serious problem. Apparently a 13-year-old boy killed himself in China after playing a video game for 36 hours straight.
Experts say addiction to technology is becoming the fastest-growing illness of the 21st century. If that’s true, what does it mean for public relations and marketing professionals?
In public relations, our profession requires us to be connected all the time. I’ve received calls and e-mails at all hours of the day and night from people who expect me to respond immediately. I’m always on the Internet, researching what reporters are covering. I also assist with the execution of my clients’ social media efforts.
Between professional and personal use, I’m always using the Internet, and so are many others in our industry.
I tweeted the question “How many hours per day are you connected to and using the Internet?”, and received responses I fully expected to hear.
Public relations and marketing professionals Becca Gladden, Katie Charland, Abbie Fink and Ashley Oakes responded, saying they are pretty much connected and using the Internet all day long. Charland even said, “I think the better question is how many hours I am not, which is only when I’m sleeping.”
Our professions have made Internet usage a requirement. Being connected and using the Internet 24/7 is a way of life.
I took an online disorder test, which told me I’m not suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder, but if our usage continues to be constant, could we suffer in the future?
In your opinion, is PR/marketing professionals’ Internet usage a problem, an addiction or a disorder?
Brian Camen is a higher-education PR professional based in Tempe, Arizona, USA. His blog, The PR Practitioner, is about public relations trends and professional development tips. Connect with him on twitter @BrianCamen or e-mail him at Brian.Camen@gmail.com.