Can you get addicted to Google Glass?

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The future of wearable technology has created a lot of buzz. But here comes the catch - in what is seen as a world first, a doctor has diagnosed a US navy personnel as showing symptoms of being addicted to his Google Glass™.

The 31-year US navy serviceman man had checked into the US Navy Substance Abuse and Recovery Programme (SARP) in September 2013 for alcoholism treatment. During rehab, patients can’t access alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes for 35 days. They also can’t use electronic devices.

By the time the man checked into the facility, he was showing signs of involuntary movements, cravings, memory problems; in his dreams he viewed things as if he was wearing his Google Glass. When he was not wearing them he felt irritable and argumentative.

The man had been using his Google Glass to improve his performance at work, to speed up his job of making inventories of convoy vehicles for the navy.

He used his Google glass for up to 18 hours per day, taking it off only to sleep and wash. Within 2 months of buying the glass, he was also experiencing his dreams through the view of his glass, according to The Guardian.


The man’s addiction and treatment has been published in a scientific journal, Addictive Behaviours, and co-authored by Dr Andrew Doan, head of addictions and resilience research at SARP.

Doan says doctors observed the patient repeatedly tapped his right temple with his index finger -- a movement that involuntarily mimics the motion regularly used to switch on the heads-up display on his Google Glass.

The man told researchers he was “going through withdrawal from his Google Glass” and that “the Google Glass withdrawal was greater than the alcohol withdrawal he was experiencing.”

Google Glass experiment by TechCrunch

While the scientific community is still divided over whether internet-related disorders linked to devices such as phones, PCs, are linked to other psychological disorders, Doan, told the Guardian that those with a predisposition to addictive personalities, would find wearable technology as an easy way to access their “rush”.

“There’s nothing inherently bad about Google Glass,” Doan says, adding: “It’s just that there is very little time between these rushes. So for an individual who’s looking to escape, for an individual who has underlying mental dysregulation, for people with a predisposition for addiction, technology provides a very convenient way to access these rushes.

“And the danger with wearable technology is that you’re allowed to be almost constantly in the closet, while appearing like you’re present in the moment.”

Doan adds: “People used to believe alcoholism wasn’t a problem – they blamed the person or the people around them. It’s just going to take a while for us to realise that this is real.”

How to spot an addiction to things Internet.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you could be defined as having an online addiction problem:

  • Feelings of guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dishonesty
  • Euphoric feelings when in front of the computer
  • Unable to keep schedules
  • No sense of time
  • Isolation
  • Defensiveness
  • Avoiding doing work
  • Agitation

Health checks

According to PyschGuides.com there is a simple diganostic you can do to find out if you are an online addict? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you preoccupied with using the Internet? Do you think about your previous or future online activity?
  • Do you have the need to be online longer to be satisfied?
  • Have you made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to cut back, stop or control your Internet use?
  • Do you become moody, restless, irritable or depressed when you stop or decrease your Internet use?
  • Is your time spent online longer than what you originally planned?
  • Did your online use negatively affect a significant relationship, education, career or job?
  • Do you conceal the extent of your Internet usage from your therapist, family or others?
  • Does the Internet serve as an escape from problems or relief from a bad mood?