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Should Addictive Tech Come With a Health Warning?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the nanny-state dept.

Technology 329

holy_calamity writes "Academics researching how technology addiction affects businesses and employees say 'habit-forming' gadgets like Blackberries should be dispensed along with warnings about the effect they can have on your life. 'We don't want to be in a situation in a few years similar to that with fast food or tobacco today. We need to pay attention to how people react to potentially habit-forming technologies.'"

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329 comments

Absolutely Not (5, Insightful)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495304)

Any behavior comes with a risk of psychological addiction. To stipulate a health warning on devices is absolutely ludacris.

Re:Absolutely Not (5, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495354)

Any behavior comes with a risk of psychological addiction. To stipulate a health warning on devices is absolutely ludacris.

Exactly. Just imagine someone getting addicted to reading warning labels and the having to write a warning label that reads:

    "This device can be considered addictive, get a life*.

      *Reading warning labels is considered addictive, don't read.

Re:Absolutely Not (4, Interesting)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495380)

I actually had to RTA, and it just got worse...

Another question is whether the costs of addiction are felt directly enough by companies for economic factors to make them act. If they are only felt by employees, pressure from outside agencies like governments could be the only way to save us from an addiction epidemic.
Sometimes it just isn't worth logging on...

Re:Absolutely Not (5, Insightful)

cuantar (897695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495524)

Oh no! Help us, Nanny State! We need you to save us from our pathetic lack of willpower, responsibility, and maturity!

Re:Absolutely Not (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495822)

Must... Not... Comment...

*damn*

I feel so ashamed.

Slashdot is addictive. For the love of God, won't someone think of the children!

Re:Absolutely Not (1, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495666)

How is that bad, let alone "worse"? Sometimes only the government (or other regulatory organization) can counter certain actions, at least on any reasonable timeframe. The most obvious example is seat-belts.

That's not to say that government intervention is always good or desirable, but sometimes *it's absolutely crucial*.

Re:Absolutely Not (1, Insightful)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495746)

How is that bad, let alone "worse"?
Oh I don't know, government mandated 'correct' usage of consumer electronics devices as suggested by the author seems a whole lot worse then the subject of the article itself... How you can equate any of that to seat belts is far beyond me.

Re:Absolutely Not (2, Informative)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495852)

There's already government-mandated 'correct' usage of spraypaint. Read a can of any aerosol sometime: it's a federal offense to use it in a manner other than indicated on the packaging.

It's to give 'em something to prosecute 'huffers' on, o'course, but it's still a government-mandated 'approved' use, meaning that, yes, your canned-air-flamethrower made from a lighter strapped to a canned air or hairspray can that you've been using to toast mosquitoes is illegal.

Re:Absolutely Not (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22496184)

Why do you feel it's necessary for the government to mandate seatbelt usage? If people want to behave stupidly and weed themselves out of the gene pool, why should society object?

Re:Absolutely Not (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496292)

I know! How about we let adults choos for themselves whether to indulge in self-destructive behavior if it makes them happy. We could just decide that freedom was more important than safety. It's a revolutionary idea.

Or, I dunno, we could arrest and imprison someone for their own safety if they decide not to wear a seatbelt, or a not to wear a motorcycle helmet, or eat to much fast food, or whatever else someone doesn't like today. Think of the children! Freedom is scary, and we'll save a couple bucks on health insurace -- its win-win!

Re:Absolutely Not (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495570)

Hehe.. "warning, this TV program may bring you coming back for more". It will soon be illegal to have all those cliffhangers in TV series'!

Re:Absolutely Not (5, Interesting)

t33jster (1239616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495470)

No kidding! What would such a warning label look like?

Surgeon General's Warning: The likelihood of a psychological addiction to this device is approximately equal to your own tendency to become psychologically addicted to stuff.

I work in a place where they hand out blackberries like they're candy on Halloween. IMHO, people don't get 'addicted' to their blackberries, they become addicted to making it look like they're doing something important. Either way it's pathetic, and no warning label will fix it.

Ground Up (3, Insightful)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495664)

Either way it's pathetic, and no warning label will fix it.
It occurs to me everyone goes after the symptoms, never the problem them selves. We need to focusing on raising well adjusted physically fit people, that would drastically reduce the likelihood of any form of addiction. But I'm sure blowing research money on warning labels is just as good...

Re:Absolutely Not (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496182)

If an addiction to x makes people more productive, it would not be called an 'addiction to x'. It would be called 'x makes people more productive'. That is why caffeine will never become illegal.

Diversity will only have been achieved when [insert extremist statement here].

Re:Absolutely Not (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495488)

> ludacris.

...is the stage name of a rapper. You meant ludicrous, "so absurd as to cause laughter".

(I'm psychologically addicted to hanging out at the local peeve ranch; that's one of my pet peeves.)

Re:Absolutely Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495574)

I'm addicted to my spell checker.

Re:Absolutely Not (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495712)

My answer will change with available evidence. For a specific example lets look at cell phones. There is some evidence that supports a link between cell phone use and cancer. Other experiments fail to support that case. With inconclusive and contradictory data on that link, I do not think that a warning is required. If conclusive evidence establishes such a link, then I do think a warning should be required. In that case, I expect many cell phone companies may find significantly reduced profits. If we learn the cell phone companies are purposefully concealing dangers of cell phone use, then they should be penalized. If we learn that cell phone companies have learned how to modify behavior through cell phones in some way and are secretly using them to create a chemical addiction, then I think they should be penalized.

Re:Absolutely Not (1)

russlar (1122455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495762)

Any behavior comes with a risk of psychological addiction. To stipulate a health warning on devices is absolutely ludacris.
I agree completely. I mean, think about how this applies to sex.

Re:Absolutely Not (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496162)

Any behavior comes with a risk of psychological addiction. To stipulate a health warning on devices is absolutely ludacris.


How dare you associate addiction with Ludacris [wikipedia.org]!

Re:Absolutely Not (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496232)

I think games should come with such a warning only if all religious doctrine (bibles, church programs, curch shows, church signs, etc) must carry the same.

As if just looking... (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495324)

As if just looking at the folks who play these games isn't warning enough. Oh, wait. They never go out so we can see them!

(Former Eve Online player here!)

Re:As if just looking... (2, Funny)

Yoooder (1038520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495512)

...but on the rare occasions that they do they shine like a clean greased albino in a mud-wrestling contest

Heh (4, Interesting)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495340)

Oh please, big government, save us from ourselves by outlawing more things! We don't need to be personally accountable for our own actions!

Re:Heh (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495692)

Oh please, big government, save us from ourselves by outlawing more things! We don't need to be personally accountable for our own actions!
Personal accountability requires information. What's being discussed here is not outlawing things, but providing information.

Re:Heh (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495894)

Actually, government laws are exactly one of the things being discussed EVEN IN THE ARTICLE: "... pressure from outside agencies like governments could be the only way to save us from an addiction epidemic".

Do people really need "information" to know that, say, reading slashdot all day long at work and/or at home is dysfunctional and unproductive behaviour that'll probably get them fired, probably drive them to ruin, and possibly destroy their relationships? I don't think so. That's common sense.

Re:Heh (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495706)

Exactly!

Next time someone wants a Nanny State to provide something to everyone, this should be the response from the crowd. I'd love to see someone say this very thing each and everytime Obama (or Hillary) or McCain mentions a new program to save us from ourselves.

That's not just silly, it's stupid! (1)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495342)

It's the person not the tech that has the addictive properties!!!

It's the person not the gun.

It's the person not the blackberry.

It's the person not the _____.

-1 Cunt (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495596)

fuck you cunt.

How many thousands have to die before you realize that guns kill people?

A nigger without a gun is just a nigger. A nigger with a gun is a fucking robbing and killing machine.

The obiligatory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495360)

Why didn't someone warn me about slashdot?

Re:The obiligatory (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495616)

Agreed. Slashdot should have a big warning on the top of the screen that reads: "WARNING: this site is highly addictive and will cost you hours of lost productivity." I know it has for me.

No. (0, Troll)

Blice (1208832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495382)

Then there will be debates on what is "habit forming" and what isn't... Eventually, websites will have addiction disclaimers on the fronts; I.E, sites like Slashdot and 4chan.

Fuck that's dumb (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495386)

There's no mechanism for physiological addiction. In most cases, I'd say the tech doesn't even create the same brain opiate rush that activities like gambling do. What, should products come with a warning that they're too fun?

Problem isn't the stuff, it's the people with obsessive personality issues.

Re:Fuck that's dumb (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495522)

It is not a opiate rush you feel, it is a dopamine rush. The problem indeed is with people who can't stop. People who half to play their online games before they do their home work, or care for their children. I don't need a label on my games/ect. telling me that I might like them too much.

How about just a general warning for life? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495404)

It's coming to the point where warning labels are on absolutely everything.

Why not just have a paper you sign at graduation (and one you sign for your child when it's born) that's a coverall warning for all those little common-sense things that you should know:

"Life contains hazards. Use at your own risk."

Yes, some warning labels are necessary--but really, anyone with a grain of common sense and the least bit of personal responsibility should be able to take care of themselves as regards addictions, whether electronic, chemical, or psychological--if they end up addicted, then let 'em have some help with it, by all means, but don't annoy the rest of us with asinine warning labels on everything.

Besides, at this point, who actually reads warning labels anymore? They're everywhere; to actually bother reading 'em is too much of a hassle for most people. They just fade into the background--does anyone here know how many different "Surgeon General's Warnings" there are for packs of cigarettes? Or that there's more than one?

What better way to advertise? (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495422)

Company's lawyerspeak on package: Warning: This product may lead to psychological addiction, not having a life, lack of sleep, and other ill effects.

Teenage or young adult customer: COOL! I gotta have one of those!

Porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495424)

Just imagine warning labels on every single porn site and movie, talk about killing the mood

Slashdot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495436)

Warning slashdot may be addictive

Yeah... but it would be simpler if... (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495440)

Yes but the lawyers should just label all electronic/computer hardware and software etc.

If it is something useful and usable, you would get addict playing with it; if it is not useful or buggy, you might addict trying to improve/fix it.

And there is no proof that such additions can be avoided.

blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495446)

I can quit slashdot any time I want.

DO NOT WANT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495534)

Quit /.?
Nooooooooooo!!!

Everything fun has addictive properties.... (5, Interesting)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495450)

As long as doing something (gaming, gambling, alcohol, drugs) potentiates the production of dopamine, then it has the potential to cause addiction.

Doing things you enjoy are fun, usually when you're having fun dopamine levels rise significantly in your brain.

Dopamine is commonly associated with the pleasure system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform certain activities. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Everything fun has addictive properties.... (5, Funny)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495658)

Then the solution is clear: make life miserable for everyone, all the time.

Re:Everything fun has addictive properties.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495776)

Hence Microsoft.

Re:Everything fun has addictive properties.... (1)

s74n13y (854884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495854)

Should Blackberries and come with thoughtful strategy? We should come with advice about the costs of thoughtful strategy. We should all come with a warning associated with advice about our workplace habits. She says Kakabadse. There is doubt whether the production of Northampton University is fun, usually though when you're gathering more data on how to save us from outside agencies like governments it could be only felt directly with enough research. But it seems worth trying to apply a warning label. This is not anyone's fault anymore, it may just be the risk of your next phone. It will come with fast food or restricting email access to learn how to improve productivity and policies. She explains: "Companies offer technologies and stop it." Perhaps your next phone will come with a feeling of information technologies over the costs of having fun and dopamine levels rise significantly in the costs of having more control, it seems. We don't want to know if it's gotta only relate to 60% or reduce costs. But if people react to increased productivity, or restricting email access to cause addiction, then they do. There just hasn't been enough research.

SURGEON GENERALS WARNING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495452)

SURGEON GENERALS WARNING: Iphone batteries contain toxic lead.

SURGEON GENERALS WARNING: Blackberry use causes obesity, divorce, carpal tunnel syndrome, myopia, and high blood pressure.

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, infants should not use iphone during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Use of Iphone impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery and may cause marital problems.

Personal Responsibility (4, Insightful)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495476)

Personally, if there's any addictive activity that I think should have a warning associated with it, it's foisting responsibility off on another person or object. Nothing is anyone's fault anymore, it seems.

Magic Thinking (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496064)

Actually, it's all my fault. Everything I think comes true. I made you say that.

Joking aside, my above silly statement is an example of Magic Thinking [wikipedia.org]. I always felt it was the opposite of victimization, the idea that everything I think and do affects the world.

Personally I feel that the concepts of "self" and "other" are illusory. Everything is interconnected. Just by reading this sentence I typed, your brain has been physically altered forever. Addiction is just the result of mental processes, feedback systems reacting to internal and external stimuli. It's unlikely warning labels would help. Electric shocks when you use them too often would do nicely.

They might be on to something (1)

Yoooder (1038520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495484)

I've been addicted to popping bubble-wrap since I was a kid. Put me any where near the stuff and I twist, tear, and jump on the stuff to the point I exhaust myself and forget to keep up relationships or do my work (I used to be a shipping clerk, that was a bad idea). Since it's been seen as so innocent for so long though people won't see the dangers, so I believe we should warn people of addictive inventions. Lets be the Amish 2.0 and say "good enough" to things right now!

This is really dumb... (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495494)

I really cant see myself or anyone getting addicted to using any electronic device. Games, of course, but an addiction to using a phone/PDA? Get real. The only time I use my own is when I am actually working on it, or when i am very very bored waiting for something. I have a few games on my PDA, but they only are fun for about 10 minutes before I get bored. I doubt many people huddle in their basement browsing their contact list for hours on end.

Yes... (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495498)

If they're going to put health warnings about the possibility of addiction on casinos, beer and chocolate, to name a few things... or even Qdoba, my own personal demon. ;) That's not even mentioning things that are physiologically addictive. Coffee anyone?

Re:Yes... (1)

Yoooder (1038520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495556)

Don't get me going on Qdoba, I ate there so much as a student they sent me a sweatshirt for being a top-10 customer. MMmmmm makes me want a 1/2 chicken 1/2 steak queso burrito w/ verde & habenero salso, green tabasco cheese and sourcream, all grilled and busting at the seams and what not. *hungry now, thanks!*

the slashdot effect (1)

the_real_valaki (1174903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495532)

i think its time to issue some sort of a warning to all those F5 beaters who refresh, ahem.. read slashdot instead of bashing some xls in their favorite cubicle.

I'm worried about the Beaver (2, Funny)

zazenation (1060442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495536)

June Cleaver: "Ward, I caught Beaver and Wally using a blackberry behind the garage --- What should We do about it?"
Ward Cleaver: "I'll talk to him about it"

Later that day

Ward: "Beaver, your mother said she say you and Wally behind the garage using a blackberry. What do you have to say about yourself?"
Beav: "Gee dad, Wally and I were just seeing what it was like. All the kids at school have tried blackberries --- Some even use it at school!"
Ward: "I don't care what the other boys at school are doing. If all the other kids were smoking giant ganja bud spleefs while wearing bellbottoms and tea-shades, would you follow them?"
Beve: "Nah, I guess not dad. I'm sorry. I'll go ask wally to flush that blackberry down the toilet before we get into more trouble with it. I learned my lesson. Thanks dad."
Ward:'OK son. Now get Wally over here so I can ask him what he and Eddie Haskell were doing with that gallon of Mazola and 15 boxes of golf balls in the basement ..."

Evolution (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495538)

I have been more and more accostumed to always get more... for example, with cell phones... they come simple, then they add another feature, and if you actually start using that feature, you will not want a simpler one again... and this becomes recursive. It is, in fact kind of addictive.

If we think historically, most of today's citizens of urbanized and developed areas hardly would be able to go back and actually live in the conditions of our ancestors.

I, for one, have a hard time dealing with situations where I have no connectivity to internet. I can barely manage it if I have a laptop where I can at least do some work.

That's my point of view to addictiveness of technology. In a certain way, it is the addictiveness of the evolution we inflicted in ourselves.

Re:Evolution (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495586)

De-evolving back to our ancestors would destroy our way of life. I don't think anyone wants to leave their house to go take a dump in a smelly box outside, as the rain beats down.

Re:Evolution (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495888)

I don't think anyone wants to leave their house to go take a dump in a smelly box outside, as the rain beats down.
Obviously you've never played the game HTD (Hide The Dump), bonus points for heater vents and pillow cushions!. Even dump taking in extreme conditions can have addictive quality... I mean look at at those boys from CKY and Jackass...

Do warnings actually work? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495548)

Before taking a measure to fix a problem, one should first know whether that measure will actually fix the problem in question. It's not enough to look like you're doing something, real solutions are supported by data. A priori, it seems reasonable that a warning label would discourage people, but people need to read them, think about them, and then decide to follow them. As we see with cigarettes, some people have trouble doing that. There may even be some segment of the population that disobeys warnings just to be contrary. Is there any data out there on how effective warning labels actually are?

Re:Do warnings actually work? (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495970)

It protects you from being sued (in some cases). Echoing some of the other comments in the thread, slapping warming labels on stuff that may cause psychological addiction is just silly, as it's really nothing than the want to do something FUN. On the other hand, you have things which are actually chemically addictive, or actually do pose some sort of danger. While one can argue the extent that such labels and warnings should be employed, the very idea that responsible choice requires information, means that some degree of labeling and warning is required. Sometimes comprehensive research on a product beforehand is just not possible, or practical.

WARNING (2, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495560)

Useful tools may be useful. In fact you may find the need to incorporate them into your daily life. Electronic communication tools such as "e-mail" and 'the internets' (A.K.A. the tubes) may also be found to significantly improve productivity. Use with extreme caution.

Bender: Don't worry I don't have an addictive personality - chugs beer, puffs cigar, jacks on

obl. quote (4, Funny)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495566)

"with a warning label this big you know it's gotta be fun!"

Warning: this quote is for hardcore fans only. If you can only relate 60% or less of your daily life to a futurama quote then please disregard this post

Wow... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495598)

We don't want to be in a situation in a few years similar to that with fast food or tobacco today.

Apparently the nanny staters have proceeded to the point where their nonsense about fast food isn't no longer a scare tactic, but the benchmark by which to define some new scare tactic!

absolutely (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495610)

Absolutely. I'd like those two years I played warcraft back.

Alcoholism runs in my family. It was pretty easy enough to avoid that potential fall. I had no idea that warcraft was just as addictive. I'm not saying everyone who plays warcraft is addicted or prone to it, but I certainly was. I'd get the shakes if I stopped playing for a while.

You can say its my personal responsibility to limit my game playing time. I don't disagree, but when you are addicted to something its very difficult to stop. Call it a flaw in my personality, or whatever, but I think a warning would go along way to letting people know of potential problems and allow them to make good decisions ahead of time.

I think that the warcraft addiction is much like gambling. pull lever get purple.

Re:absolutely (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495714)

so you want a warning on -everything- that says "If you lack will power please don't buy this product"? please give me a break. less blame shifting is not what the world needs.

Re:absolutely (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495944)

I don't want it on every product. Just on alcohol, tobacco, places of gambling and MMORGs.

Its not a lack of will power, its serious. All I want is some sort of warning to avoid a potentially problem for myself. Its not blame shifting, its a heads up so I can make good choices and avoid something I am prone to.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction [wikipedia.org]

No, Thanks (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495646)

I'm not sure the problem is the Blackberry. I have one, and far from being addicted to it, I ignore the motherfucker as much as possible.

Maybe we should just affix a single, generic warning label to everything. "Health Warning: Due to the possibility that you are a thoughtless jackass, unthinking jackassery on your part might arise from use of this object. On the other hand, if you actually are a thoughtless jackass, you probably won't read this warning, or care about it if you do read it. Luckily, it's pretty much a free country, so jackass or not, do whatever you like with this object."

TV considered harmful, by the Surgeon General (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22495654)

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: The Surgeon General Has Determined that Watching Television is Dangerous to your Health.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Women Who are Pregnant or Nursing Should Not Watch Television.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING:Television May Result in AD(H)D, Premature Laziness, and Decreased Brain Function.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Quitting Television Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Intelligence.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Television Contains Advertisements.

Re:TV considered harmful, by the Surgeon General (1)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495932)

Hahaha! I actually agree with the one on the advertisements. :D

OK, so I avoid this new tech because (1)

Babu 'God' Hoover (1213422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495674)

I've been warned that it might be addicting. Some years later we learn that it isn't addicting at all. However, the avoidance has cost me enormously in opportunity.

I'll suggest a simple symbolic warning label.
A smoking cigarette.
It's been beat into our heads how bad that is for a good 20 years.

edebris bonus!
Public education needs to get back to the basics.
How to cross a street.
How to handle a gun.
How to behave around dogs and other animals.
How to behave in general.
How to cross railroad tracks.
How to identify a blasting cap.
How to dress a chicken.

It's something most of us have dealt with (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495688)

I, like many slashdotters, was a fairly early adopter of computer and internet technology.  In the mid 90's I had a couple-year spell of IRC addiction.  The I realized what a dumb waste of time it was and got over it.

I think the general population is just going through a similar phase, now, that many of us went through years ago.

Of course, there are always those without any common sense who don't realize their lives are being ruined by Crackberries, WoW, or some other thing which isn't really as good or fun as it seems at first.

A bit different (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495728)

similar to that with fast food or tobacco today
These examples can and do markedly, and sometimes drastically, shorten ones lifespan. I don't know of any tech toy that can do that. Dying from heart disease or lung cancer isn't really the same thing as carpel tunnel syndrome caused by crackberries or loss of hearing from an iPod.

Just like everything else... (2, Interesting)

abc_los (638007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495768)

As with everything else in life, you should exercise moderation. Anything enjoyable can be addictive, whether it be a drug, sex, video games, or an electronic gadget. It's all in the responsibility of the user/consumer. I'm addicted to Call of Duty and accept full responsibility of a ruined social life.

I think a great first step... (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495772)

... is to keep Administrators with fucking retarded ideas like this out of our lives. Perhaps tattooing a warning on there forehead like, "Warning, this is an Administrator and will needlessly complicate and inconvenience your life if only by wasting profound amounts of your time." Well, perhaps more then there forehead, but who cares. They're just Administrators and deserve what they (should) get.

Warning label (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495780)

"Do not attempt to swallow gaming disk or insert it nasally, into the ear canal or rectally. Oh and using said disk for gaming may be addictive."

Hey at least they make nice coasters.

If we use the Wii as an example (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495792)

We can see that warnings just don't work that well. Using a strap that comes attached to a new device that you just got _should_ be intuitive. Nintendo plastered warnings about doing this wherever possible. Yet, a noticeable portion of Wii users still managed to bypass these warnings and do damage, and then complain about said damage.

Addictive Devices and You (1)

Jekler (626699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495880)

The idea is crap. I don't even know how these ideas get out of someone's mouth without setting warnings off in the brain's "Bad Idea" filter. Like any good programmer, people need to treat warnings as errors and fix them before they infect the whole system.

As a society, we don't need more babysitting. Leave us the hell alone.

We're turning into Demolition Man. I can't believe I live in a society that could produce such a poignant story and fail to grasp the meaning of it. Britain wants to ban salt, we've already banned trans fatty acids, we have our leaders preaching that their should be limits on free speech, cigarettes have almost reached criminal status, and it's illegal to treat terminally ill patients with marijuana, god forbid they miss out on all the pain and anguish of slow deterioration. Yet we're still talking about what other areas need restricting. I'll decide what's good for me and however I end up, it's on me. Big brother can piss off.

Horrible Story (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495882)

To equate "habit-forming" to addictive substances in really rude and incosiderate to those who suffer from real addictions like tabacco, alcohol or drugs. These addictions are life threatening, and are biological addictions, not habits.

Second, are these devices the source of the addiction? Aren't we addicted to what these devices "can do for us", as opposed to, "are". We are addicted to communication, information, and entertainment. Anything that enables these natural pleasures will get used. But to say the blackberry or cell phone brings a new addictive ingredient to the mix, seems a bit awkward. We are addicted to "being able to get the news whenever we want", and not "being able to transmit data packets over the airwaves".

Further, it turns out that those unfortunate people who do get diagnosed with conditions such as "internet addiction", usually have underlying issues like depression, or escapism. Nothing about the internet or handhelds will cause a normal person to loose control of their senses or their lives.

Simply, no (1)

matchlight (609707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22495974)

There is nothing special about a Blackberry. It is a device that can be used as a phone and a very simplistic internet device. I have one, and it is not even close to the habit forming level of cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. If you need a warning label for a Blackberry then you fail at life.

Warnings are Nutty But Addiction is Real (1)

pileated (53605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496002)

I'm with the person who complained that no one seems to be held responsible for their own actions anymore and so a warning has to be given to avoid legal liability. This is nutty.

But the addictiveness of recent technology is I think unquestionable. Probably the best antidote to it though is public discussion not required warnings. Personally I prefer mockery. I don't say that to be mean. I just think that it is one of the most effective tools for changing social behavior. Once Davie Letterman or someone similar starts poking fun at someone or something no one wants to be seen with that person or doing that something. So enough jokes about how silly adults look in meetings pecking away two-thumbed at their blackberries might be more helpful than anything else in at least getting the possibly addicted to step back and look at their habit. As I said I do think light mockery is the most effective means. Barring that just talking about it as in this thread has got to be more helpful than warnings.

Nothing better to do. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496010)

It only appears like an addiction. When actually we just have nothing better to do.
If work was more fun than playing with our blackberries and iphones and web surfing, we'd be all for it. And we'd be "addicted" to our work.

You have it all twisted (2, Insightful)

Bane1998 (894327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496018)

There's a lot of posts about why we shouldn't have warning labels if they don't protect the person, or if the person doesn't listen, etc. I think everyone is missing the point. Warning labels are not about protecting the reader. It's about protecting the person who made the product. I like to think we as a society aren't so stupid as to think warning labels make a difference. Everyone knows they don't. To keep pointing out the obvious that they won't stop anyone from doing something stupid and expecting the system to change is a complete failure to understand the system.

Warning labels exist not because a woman was stupid and burned her lap with hot coffee. She was stupid. Everyone knows that. They exist because she decided to sue and wasn't laughed out of court. She wasn't laughed out of court because everyone likes to attack the big companies. Because if yer on a jury with this poor burned woman on one side, and a megacorporation on the other, yer going to make the coorporation pay just because it's the liberal-ish thing to do. And so now companies have to protect themselves. I would too, if some person could sue me for a hundred billion gajillion USD. I'd put warning labels on every single thing I made.

When you see a warning label, replace 'warning' with 'disclaimer' and suddenly the whole system makes a lot more sense. Warning labels are not indicative of a nanny state or anything like that, it's indicative of there being a huge risk of someone deciding to sue you, and actually winning.

Marking "X" on Every Door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22496060)

Having so many stupid warnings is not only useless, but harmful. I mean besides hindering the process of natural selection where people dumb enough to stick their hands into lawn mowers have a higher chance of being eliminated. As it is, there's too much clutter. I mean, seriously, there's pans that say things like "WARNING: May be hot when heated." Anyway, the problem is that in the midst of "Do not hit yourself in the head with this object" you're liable to miss warnings that may actually be important that may not be obvious to everyone. You know, like how you shouldn't use that bleach with that ammonia product since it might melt your lungs. If any time you saw a warning, you knew you'd better read it, it'd actually make a difference. Nobody reads the orange-bordered text in 2 point font that tells you not to be an idiot in 5,000 words. So when the 5000-5004 words are important, people miss that, too.

Warning (2, Funny)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496086)

Posting on slashdot can be addictive please do not over use. If you percieve signs of grammar nazi-ism or trolling, please consult a professional.

Re:Warning (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496116)

should you feel the urge to correct my spelling of perceive, please tell me and I'll give you a number for someone who can help.

Put warnings on spoons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22496176)

...because, I tell ya, I simply cannot eat my Cheerios without a spoon, no matter how hard I try not to. Put those warnings on couches too - my butt seems to be endlessly attracted to the couch. And I think the absolute worst offender, the most addictive technology - is the car. Without my car, that 5 miles to work seems impossible. I get tremors when the car is in the shop.

Like the tobacco industry... (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496188)

Anything that has value can be psychologically 'habit' forming. Do people honestly expect to be able to claim "No one warned me that I can become hopelessly dependant on this product!" and be recompensed for their "trouble?".

Jesus christ, never make a successful product again...anyone...ever.

Check please, i'm out of the universe.

May have been said.... (1)

pimpbott (642033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496252)

... but it sounds like a feature, not a bug. Is this going to be like those explicit lyrics warnings on CeeDees? Heck, it may just sell more electronic devices. I don't know if I want to buy anything I didn't really wanna use all the time.

Then send out a patch for human nature (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22496296)

We don't want to be in a situation in a few years similar to that with fast food or tobacco today

That "situation" is a symptom of human nature. It is not related to fast food or tobacco. Or gadgets. If you don't want that situation, then get to work on engineering Homo Superior.

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