Our drive to “stay connected” often verges on a dangerous obsession. Many of us are unable to regulate our usage of the cyber world, a fact that can bring unforeseen, and sometimes serious, consequences. A participant at one of my cyber recovery groups went into debt because he could not stop buying “currency” for Farmville, Café World, and Cityville. Another participant used her smart phone to update her Facebook account so much in school that she paid zero academic attention, leading to failing grades. For those of use who are prone to addiction, Facebook can lead to financial, academic, and professional failure.
A 21-year-old Illinois drive, Araceli Beas, has taken it one step further. She has been accused of trying to update her Facebook page on her cell phone when she apparently struck and killed, Raymond Veloz, a man in his seventies. A wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. The victim’s daughter, Regina Cabrales, alleges that woman was operating her car in a distracted manner because of her use of an “electronic device,” preventing her from slowing down to avoid an accident. As proof, she highlights the fact that Beas’ Facebook page had an update posted at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2010, the exact time that Veloz’s cell phone records showed a call being made to 911.
Of course, Facebook is not the problem, but merely an outlet for the unresolved issues each of us carries inside. The cyber world is impacting our ability to control our impulses. We have become accustomed to such a constant flow of stimulation that many of us cannot live without it, even for a short car ride. The problem is likely to get worse.