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After reading a recent article in The Wall Street Journal about kids who feel “orphaned” by their parents’ BlackBerries, I determined that I too, was putting my son at risk with my BlackBerry-ing behaviors.  But I am not orphaning my son by using my BlackBerry.  Rather, I believe I suffer from a case of BlackBerry-itis.  It’s a sickness that is long-term in nature and very hard to cure. 

BlackBerry-itis can be defined as “an unnatural and obsessive addiction to checking one’s BlackBerry.”  There are many strains of BlackBerry-itis.  Type M (the obsessive need to check one’s BlackBerry during Meetings), Type PT (the addiction to checking one’s BlackBerry on Public Transportation, and the most severe form, the type I suffer from, Type F (when checking one’s BlackBerry interferes with Familial duties).

Unfortunately, Type F is hard to discern, since many observers of the disease are children not of speaking age.  And, the sickness is subtle at first.  It may start with a casual checking of the BlackBerry when you wake up in the morning before you get baby out of the crib.  But full-blown BlackBerry-itis Type F is hard to miss.

Here are some of the key indicators:

r     You check your BlackBerry even when your child is in the highchair screaming bloody murder for his food.
r     You bring your BlackBerry into bed with you in the morning and email instead of cuddling with your child.
r     You find that your thumbs are too sore to play with your baby’s blocks.
r     You bring the BlackBerry to mom/baby classes and check it immediately when class is over.
r     You’d rather sit at your counter and “BlackBerry” than sit on your floor and play with your child.
r     Your mother actually knows what the device is, and expresses her disdain for it.

However problematic BlackBerry-itis can be there are some little-known cures:
r     Husband threatens to “throw that thing in Lake Michigan or other large body of water” if he sees the BlackBerry in the bedroom one more time.
r     People at work send you nasty emails telling you to stop emailing on your day off.
r     Email servers at work go down, making the BlackBerry non-functioning (note: this is only a temporary cure until the servers are restored).
r     You leave BlackBerry on different floor of your house so that you are too lazy to walk upstairs and get it.
Unfortunately, I’ve tried all of the remedies above to no avail.  After trying to cure my illness, I think that the best solution for BlackBerry-itis is not having a BlackBerry at all.  But I don’t think I’m quite ready to try that solution yet.   

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