Hooked on Gadgets...Who isn't?
By: Veronica Bautista
In light of a June 6 article in the New York Times titled “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price”, the FOX Northeast Bureau (the department I am interning with) decided to research the topic further.
The question soon arises, "Who can we interview that is obsessed with technology?" With the words still lingering in the air, I look over at the producer who is Blackberry messaging (or BBM-ing) another producer looking for help on her already full work-load. Meanwhile the reporter is busy writing her next script, also via Blackberry, and even the cameraman is talking on his cell phone. I can't help but wonder, aren't we all hooked on gadgets? Isn't there a level of normal (or maybe not so normal) dependency on these gadgets for our personal and professional careers?
Let's be honest, most of us are at a point in our lives when sleeping with a cell phone is normal, checking our e-mail once we wake up is habitual, and differentiating the alerts of a text message, e-mail, or BBM is second nature.
In fact, the New York Times article says impulses to respond to these messages provoke excitement - a dopamine squirt, to be exact, that can be addictive - according to Stanford researchers who conducted the study.
In September 2009, the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found adults between 18 and 29 average about four gadgets. Today it seems people can add the Kindle, Flip Video and/or iPad to that list. So what is our fate? Do we simply crumble in the hands of Steve Jobs and accept that he is God?
As we continued to work on the story, we were soon introduced to Beth Feldman, president of Role Mommy, an online community geared towards busy working moms. We enter her "work area" and see a laptop propped next to her desktop computer. Lying in front of the 27-inch screen is a Blackberry, iPhone, and Kindle. Her twitter page is clearly visible and it isn't long until you hear a "boop", which indicates that someone has sent her a Skype message. The outspoken and friendly woman is happy to show off her new HP Officejet Pro Printer fully equipped with wireless networking and touch-screen mini-computer. Although Feldman admits that she hasn't caved and bought the iPad just yet, this woman is clearly technologically savvy.
Personally, I found the former public relations professional inspiring; she's a wife and mother of two who can still find time to manage a networking site, write books, and offer support to many working moms. The thought, "she's neglecting her children," never crossed my mind - instead I kept thinking: "This woman has it all!" I also love how some of these tech-junkies are not "kids from my generation." We're talking about men and women in their 30s and 40s who were probably introduced to the Internet during college!
Steven Yantis, a brain sciences professor at Johns Hopkins University, tells the New York Times that the brain is wired to adapt. We are all embracing these new gadgets and advances in technology. I think we shouldn't be so quick to jump on the negative effects of information overload—the purposes of these gadgets are efficiency and entertainment. Let's adapt to this new world of media-multitasking and accept that we're already hooked!