BlackBerry users: don't crack up

Mobile email is more dangerous than it sounds: think sore thumbs, drug-like addiction, potential lawsuits...

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By  Ben Flanagan Published  February 13, 2007

Across the world, there are more than six million people craving their next fix. They sit fidgeting, eyes cast downwards, unaware of what is going on around them – mere slaves to their addiction.

This is not an image of some drug-ridden future, it is happening now. It is the dark world of BlackBerry mobile e-mail…

Or so some would have you believe. Much has been written about the apparently addictive nature of the BlackBerry – which, rather simply (you’d think), allows you to access your email on the move.

But with cases of BlackBerry ‘addiction’ rife, residents of the UAE – where telecoms operator Etisalat yesterday announced the launch of BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) for individual customers – should beware.

A clue comes with its joking nickname, the ‘CrackBerry’. Severe users may need to be given treatment similar to that of drug users. Some share their woes on one of many BlackBerry addicts’ discussion boards. Some hotels even offer a ‘cold turkey’ service, where guests can request to have their BlackBerry confiscated; a U.S. academic has even warned that BlackBerry addiction lawsuits could be on the cards.

Well, blimey, I'd better email my lawyer about this one in advance. It’s all rather hysterical talk about something that, on the whole, allows businesspeople to work smarter, more efficiently, and react to situations immediately.

However, use can get out of hand. A former colleague of mine decided to throw away her BlackBerry, having found herself waking up more than once during the night to respond to emails. “It’s like having a kid, or something,” she said.

And in the UAE – where working hours tend to be longer than in many European countries – the temptation to work ‘24/7’ might be exacerbated by ownership of such a device.

So a bit of self-control is required to keep use within reasonable parameters. Switch the thing off when you get home, at least.

But this is easier said than done – as, perhaps, ArabianBusiness.com readers have found. Addicts can email in their comments using the form below – and yes, this website is open all night…

4441 days ago
Shafick

Another device to hold those irresponsible drivers to check what there meetings are all about and text the office while driving. This is a device which is going to wreak havoc on the roads when launch. Authorities are struggling to control cellphones already. What is gonna happen when this gets out? Another deadly device with disastrous consequences i take it!

4448 days ago
Ricardo

I think it would be fair to say "once you go Black(Berry) you never go back". Can be your best friend or your worst enemy, a must have for a business man/woman, a definate no no for the partner with the nagging other half. Addictive, effective and distructive at the same time. I love it, a must have for the executive on the go.

4452 days ago
Mike

Thought provoking article, ban all Email for a week and see how we cope. I bet communication will actually improve by the end of the week... We do not need to be connected 24/7. Don't get me wrong I like Tec stuff, but we need a balance in life. I hate them...

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