It’s a snow day! Grab your garbage pail lids, flexible flyers, dining hall trays and find anything that resembles a hill. It’s a snow day….but it’s not.
There was a time when “snow day” meant your world shut down. You put on as many layers as possible, spent hours outside (as a kid or with your kids) – and just when you thought you couldn’t get any colder – you went inside, made hot chocolate, got toasty warm and started all over again.
But with the advent of the Internet, VPN, smart phones and any other device that keeps us connected, there is no such thing as a snow day, weekend or even an evening without the constant call of work. And here in lies the dilemma. This isn’t a new topic, it’s been debated for the past 15 years or more, but the way we now respond has reached a much higher pitch. It’s not just about the devices and connectivity – it’s about us.
First it was the tanning beds, cell phones and video games, now it’s “Internet addiction” or “Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).” The Computer Addiction Study Center at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital has found that 5-10% of the population has internet dependency. Dr. Maressa Orzack, a licensed clinical psychologist, member of the Harvard Medical School faculty and founder/coordinator of the Computer Addiction Services, has treated these addictive behaviors. Articles have been published in the Harvard University Gazette about this disorder with anecdotal stories.
In addition, Internet addiction clinics and help sites are cropping up at a rapid rate. In August 2009, ReSTART, the first residential treatment center for “pathological computer use” was founded in Fall City, Washington; HelpGuide.org enables you to assess your addiction and provides self help tips to break the habit. Plus, a recent article on Livestrong.com identifies the far reaching effects such as detachment and task failure, isolation, guilt and even poor diet as just a few of the problems.
Yes, it could be true. A day without constant feedback and information is no longer relaxing, it’s actually stressful.
Or you can look at it like this – we’re having a snow day in Atlanta, but the rest of the world is still doing business and not waiting for our ice to melt.
There are no make up dates for snow days!