22 April 2019
A man tries out a Google Glass, one of the latest devices that provide access to the internet. Photo: Reuters
A man tries out a Google Glass, one of the latest devices that provide access to the internet. Photo: Reuters

Man treated for Google Glass addiction

He has been described as the first known case of “internet addiction disorder” involving Google Glass.

A 31-year-old US Navy serviceman, who has not been identified, admitted to doctors he wore the smart device 18 hours a day, removing it only when he had to sleep or wash his face. He said he even dreams of visions seen through his Google Glass.

His disorder was discovered when he sought treatment for alcoholism under the Navy’s Substance Abuse and Recovery Program at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California.

While interviewing him, the doctors noticed that “the patient exhibited a notable, nearly involuntary movement of the right hand up to his temple area and tapping it with his forefinger”, an apparent mimicking of the motions one does while using Google Glass, according to a study published in the medical journal Addictive Behaviors.

He revealed to the doctors that he had been using the device nearly all the time, and that if he was prevented from wearing it at work, “he would become extremely irritable and argumentative”.

The patient underwent a 35-day therapy at the center, and is now displaying fewer withdrawal symptoms, Dr. Andrew Doan, co-author of the study, told NBC News.

“Internet addiction” is not classified as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, but many experts believe the problem merits proper treatment, according to TIME Magazine.

The case of the US serviceman’s addiction to Google Glass may seem unique, but everywhere we go we can see internet addiction in various degrees.

In South Korea, there are an estimated two million online gaming addicts, who would forgo eating and sleeping to satisfy their craving. We need not go far. For example, how many hours do we spend on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or just browsing the internet without any definite purpose in mind?

Science fiction writers have weaved tales of a future world ruled by technology. Is that age already upon us?

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