The Bottom Line: Are we too connected?

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by Tiffany Tarpley

The Bottom Line -- Smartphones and tablets are more popular than ever before.  Whether it's dinner, the movies, or church you're bound to see someone immersed in their device.

"Check my emails because I get my emails sent directly to my phone, check those, I get my school email, my work email and then probably check social media right after that," explained Marquette University Student, Anneliese Peper.  "I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I'm also a public relations major so that's kind of part of my job I guess."

Marquette Professor Linda Menck works in the Department of Strategic Communication, teaching Emerging Social Media and Mobile Communication courses.  Menck believes the smart phone is the driving force behind increased technology usage.  "Whereas before I may not be able to get on Facebook until I could get to my laptop or to my desktop computer, I have it all the time 24/7 and so that's' fueling the fire," said Menck.

For some people, using their smart phones, tablets, MP3 players or laptops is almost to the point of obsession but can it be an addiction?

"Just looking at the internet, like looking at your stock quotes or looking at your Facebook page, there's really not a lot of evidence for that,"  explained Rogers Memorial Hospital Psychiatrist, Michael Miller.  "Is it possible that the use of the internet could become an addictive pattern for somebody? I would say yes but we really don't know anything specific about who those folks are that have an addictive pattern."

Miller said addiction is the pathological pursuit of either reward or relief through the use of substances or through certain addictive behaviors.

"It's not just about quantity, it's about what happens when you do this and what happens to the rest of your life so that if it becomes a central focus, if it's something that actually causes you dysfunction in your life, if you do it and it gets in the way you doing other things, if you keep doing it despite intense complaints from your family that say 'look this is just out of line,' If you try to do it in secret, or you hide and do it on the sly, these are features of an addictive pattern of behavior," explained Miller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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