NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, December 2006
Happy "Gadgetholidays!"
By Berry F. Phillips, Member of the Computer Club of Oklahoma City
and a regular writer for the CCOKC website and the eMonitor
bfpdata@1access.net (click to email author)

Have many of us become "gadgetholics?" Do we rush in mass like drunken lemmings annually, especially during the holidays, to rush over the cliff of technology only to fall even deeper in debt as we race to upgrade to own the newest and the coolest gadget? The Associated Press reported that a poll says Americans are showing early signs of addiction to their gadgets. Fifty percent say they could not get along without computer and mobile telephones, and 40 percent say the same for broadband use. The Associated Press article also quotes a psychologist who is an authority on INTERNET addictions so there must be truth to this new addiction. Those addicted broadband users are fortunate since "they can get help online."

Is gadget addiction generic? You might be a neophiliac if you are constantly upgrading with the latest technical gizmo. Media Life magazine reports neophiliacs are people addicted to the new. A study conducted by Yamagata University School of Medicine in Japan reports some people may be genetically predisposed to wanting the newest things. Their study suggests the cause may be a mitochrondial enzyme called monoamine oxidase. However, a University of York sociology professor disputes the findings of the study pointing out, "people were far more suspicious of change in the past so the urge to constantly move on is sociological, not a genetic one."

Do you suppose gadgetmania may be gender related? Reality checks suggest Males, far more than females, are gadget addicted to various degrees. This finding has been a boost to wives who often receive the blame for compulsive overspending while shopping. Jean Chatzky, author of "Make Money Not Excuses" gives this advice to spouses of gadgetholics: "They get excited in anticipation of their next purchase. They get a little higher when they are making it. And they feel a huge let down when it is over.

Compulsive shoppers also put their own families at risk by racking up bills they can not pay. If you think he is simply over-shopping, he needs your help. Offer to be his shopping buddy, which may contain his urge to splurge. And help him find new ways to avoid falling into that new-tech trap by getting off the email and mailing lists that are tempting him or by finding a new hobby to occupy his time." (I am sure glad that I am a single male so nothing will interfere with my gadget shopping during the holidays!)

Why I even understand that Mrs. Claus is having problems with Santa this year. Some say that Santa has global navigation installed in his high tech sleigh and no longer relies totally on Rudolph, the lead red-nosed reindeer, for navigation. The elves in Santa's workshop have been upgraded and some even replaced by robotics as more high tech gifts are being manufactured than ever before for children of all ages. Mrs. Claus is also concerned about Santa's belly that you recall "shakes like a bowl full of jelly" for fear he will get stuck in a chimney, and his deliveries could not be made on time, disappointing millions globally. Don't worry Santa has been working out daily in his high-tech gym loaded with all kinds of the newest and coolest gadgets. Santa who is male, of course, apparently seems to think that today's addictions are tomorrow's necessities.

Happy Holidays from the Computer Club of Oklahoma City and the Association of PC Users Groups!

There is no restriction against any non-profit group using this article as long as it is kept in context with proper credit given the author. The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member, brings this article to you.

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