Edmonton Mayor looking to ban BlackBerrys

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In an Edmonton Journal report on the addictive properties of the BlackBerry, it was mentioned that Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel hopes to ban BlackBerries from council meetings because of the distraction they cause.

“I look down the row of councilors and see them playing with their BlackBerries,” says Mandel. “I think councilors spend too much time focusing on those things. We’re here to do the business we’re elected to do, to pay attention to questions, answers and debate.”

The article continues on with an interview with Purdue University’s Glenn Sparks, who studies the impact of technology on society. Sparks has been noting the trend towards diminished engagement between live humans and its effects on our society; he calls it the “screen-time phenomenon.”

“If you watch the way people use this technology and see what it does to interaction, you realize we are becoming a culture that is suffering from the lack of close, intimate contact with other people,” says Sparks. “That has a vast array of emotional consequences for us.”

Sparks thinks it explains, to a great extent, the epidemic of attention disorders, anxiety disorders and depression in society today, not to mention the demise of social skills and manners.

We here at BlackBerry Cool are all for human interaction, as long as society is willing to realize that BlackBerrys are people too. My BlackBerry is not a 7130g; his name is Fred, and he has feelings.

UPDATE: There’s another great article on tech addiction from the Chicago Sun-Times here.