Matt's Tech Law #4 - Cure Yourself of iSyndrome Before It's Too Late

Over the last year, I've watched several friends develop severe cases of what I'm calling 'iSyndrome.' Not sure what that is? It's a disease... a terrible, awful illness with the horrible side-effect of making everyone you know hate you. Sounds serious doesn't it?

iSyndrome targets a small, but rapidly growing segment of the population - iPhone owners. If you or someone you know owns an iPhone, listen up.

The iPhone is cool. It does a lot of neat things like let you check your e-mail, catch up on news, post to twitter, play games, surf the web, and even just mess around with. The problem is that iPhone usage can become addictive, eventually leading to iSyndrome, which is a severe case of iPhone addiction that leads to several physical, mental, and social problems. 

How to tell if you or an iPhone user you know has iSyndrome

iPhone user:

  • experiences pain or soreness in neck from constantly looking down at their iPhone.
  • often feels soreness or pain in thumbs or index fingers.
  • feels separation anxiety when iPhone is not in hand.
  • talks to or shows intimate affection to iPhone.
  • constantly refers to iPhone as "my precious."
  • cleans the iPhone screen with their tounge.
  • ignores friends and family in social situations to play with iPhone.

Okay, I may be getting a bit silly with a few of those. However, the last symptom mentioned above is a very serious problem with the iPhone addicted, and it's the whole reason for this new Tech Law. 

I now have several friends with iPhones, and I'm completely taken back with how rude several of them have become. In social situations, like a few couples going out to dinner together for example, a completely inattentive person at the table constantly fiddling with their iPhone can ruin an entire evening. It says, "I'm bored with you all, so I'm going to check the news." Or, "I'm so not interested in the conversation, so I'd rather work on this important e-mail than listen to it." 

Don't get me wrong here, I understand there are some things in life that will interrupt a social outing. You may HAVE to check e-mail for work, or may be waiting for that status text from the babysitter... no problem. However, there's a fine line. If it's the 30th time you've taken that damn iPhone out of your pocket to "check something" during dinner, everyone around you is going to be particularly annoyed. In time, we're all going to resent you more, and simply may not invite you out the next time since it's obvious you'd rather spend time with your phone than with your friends and family.

Others who've been in this situation will back me up, but it's equally annoying when you're one-on-one with an iPhone toting friend. How many times have you been left to stare around the room while your friend swaps texts back and forth with their sweetheart or catches up on headlines from the New York Times? 

It's time to call them on it, push back, and rid the world of iSyndrome for good. I'm declaring a new law - Matt's Tech Law #4:

iPhone owners will avoid using their iPhones for entertainment value during social situations. This means that there will be no web surfing, video watching, stock checking, texting/e-mailing (unless for a reason of importance), gaming, or other non-important reason. Exceptions can be made for important work reasons or family related matters if warning is given, if you are sharing something intersting with those around you, or if asked to check a sports score, weather report, etc.

So the next time your iSyndrome suffering friend or family member, put the smack down and hand them a heaping helping of Matt style law enforcement. Together, we can cure iSyndrome once and for all.

(Special note: This law also qualifies for addicts hooked on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, and Android Smartphones.)


I have to confess, I am guilty of every single horrible symptom of iSyndrome... well, except for licking its screen. I haven't done that... yet. Seriously, I agree that it's a terrible thing and that I should leave the phone alone sometimes.

At least I don't text or talk while driving.

The bottom line is this - as a society, as we become more interconnected, more attention deficit, and more information hungry - iSyndrome will rise to pandemic levels. Those who aren't connected will be viewed as "behind the times."

It may even escalate to iSyndrome patients texting each other from across the table in lieu of talking... think about it... you could browse the web, check your email, and have a full conversation at the same time... how efficient is that? Why waste minutes calling your friends to see how they're doing when you can just check your Twitter feed? So many possibilities...

As horrible and anti-social as it may be... as Generations Y & Z come of age and take over, do you not see iSyndrome becoming even more commonplace? I'm not saying the two generations after me aren't social, because they are - just in a "different" way than many X'ers and members of previous generations.

This is just the beginning, methinks - for better or for worse!


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