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The average American spends about nine hours a day watching television, surfing the web, checking e-mail or talking on their cell phone—and about three hours a day doing two or more of these things at once! Multitasking, though, can be dangerous. Research says talking on your cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous as having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, the legal limit in most states. Studies also show that women multitask more than men, and experts are warning that multitasking actually makes you less productive. A study of Microsoft workers found that after responding to an incoming e-mail, it took an employee 15 minutes to get back to what they were working on.

Vicky recently wrote to Oprah about her husband, Davis, who she says is obsessed with his Blackberry™. He checks it while mowing the lawn, using the bathroom and even changing diapers! His wife says he's addicted, but would Davis admit he's an addict? "I don't know about 'addict,' but a user," he says.

Rana, who has a self-described type A personality, says she can't walk down the street without talking on her cell phone. "If I'm not at my cell phone, I'm by myself thinking, 'Who's on my voicemail?'" she says. "I'm not going to lie. I sleep with it. I sleep with my cell phone."

Although Rana says she's used to multitasking for her job, she admits that she can see the toll technology is taking on face-to-face interaction. "I've got an 18-year-old little brother," she says. "I think we're raising a generation of teenagers, soon to be adults, that have no interpersonal communication skills. I mean, to ask people to the prom they go to a chat room or they text message."

So what are the rules for acceptable cell phone use? Paul Roberts, senior editor at InfoWorld.com, says his company created commandments of cell phone use. His top three are: Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cell phone conversations; thou shalt not set thy ringer to play "La Cucaracha" every time thy phone rings; and thou shalt not dial while driving.
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FROM: America Talks to Oprah
Published on April 06, 2007

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