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iThink iHave iDisorder

Warning: creating addictive content may be bad for society’s health

Is Professor Rosen spouting sense or psychobabble?

Here’s a thought: ‘We are, through the use of technology devices, manifesting the symptoms of narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, social phobia, hypochondria and other psychiatric maladies’. We are, in other words, all running the risk of developing a new, uniquely 21st century malaise – the iDisorder.

That’s the opinion of Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University who specialises in the psychology of technology. Rosen outlines his theory in his book, iDisorder.

The question is, can anyone take his argument that using ‘I’ or ‘me’ in a Facebook post could indicate narcissistic traits seriously? Or that writing updates with swear words suggests depression (rather than the fact that, these days, everyone swears, online and off)?

On the other hand, his argument that people are increasingly reporting feeling anxious when separated from their technologies and therefore feeling disconnected and even isolated certainly holds more than a grain of truth. As does his contention that this feeling is more pronounced with successive generations.

Rosen argues that the solution, like the old corporate health and safety policy that advocates taking a five-minute break from the computer screen every hour, lies in a ‘tech break’.

Which rather suggests that, in fact, there is nothing new about the iDisorder. In fact, to paraphrase Stephen King, it’s simply the same shit, different name. And a catchy title for a book.

 

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