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The Ugly Side of Technology Addiction

Like most of you, I'm a technology addict. I don't think I could make it a week without a high-speed Internet connection and a fast forward button on my TV remote.

The bad news for all of us addicts is that this problem of ours, our excessive use of the Internet, cell phones and other technologies, can cause us to become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful and even more narcissistic, according to Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, director of the Impulse Clinic at Stanford. It also detracts from our time with family and friends in the real world. 

Websites like NetAddiction.com offer self-assessment tests with such questions as "Do you neglect housework to spend more time online? and "Do you lose sleep because you log in late at night?

If you answered yes to the questions above, you should know that there is no easy way to conquer this addiction. The New York Times quotes some experts who suggest simply trying to curtail the amount of time you spend online by forcing yourself to leave your cell phone at home occasionally and setting limits for how often you log on. They say technology, like food, is part of daily life and instead of giving it up entirely, we should learn moderation and controlled use.

I don't know about you but just the thought of leaving my cell phone at home - even for a day - makes me want to cringe.

Would you feel the way this University of Maryland student felt about when forced to give up technology cold turkey?  "Texting and IM'ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort. When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone. Although I go to a school with thousands of students, the fact that I was not able to communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable."

Would it be unbearable for you to give up technology for a week?  Have you ever tried it, even for a day?