A friend of mine, a professor at a university in Canada, confided to me a few days ago that she thinks she might be addicted to email.
She feels compelled to check her email all the time. And she feels bad about it. She experiences anxiety if she doesn't check, and anxiety if she does. Email gets in the way of her productivity at work and makes her feel distracted from family when she is at home.
Yup, sounds like addiction to me.
Behavioral addiction, especially to the new technologies so prevalent today, is the topic of Adam Alter's book Irresistible. I couldn't resist reading his book. Addiction is a topic I return to again and again here at 13.7. It's such an important topic, not only because it affects so many of us (according to Alter, about 41 percent have suffered from addiction in the past year) — but also because it is such an interesting point of intersection of moral and political and medical and social problems. I've also got kids — a child, a tween, and a teen — and I see every day the power of the screen in shaping their lives.