Code Rage

by Howard Fienberg
June 2001

Everyone has heard about battered children, battered wives, even battered husbands. Now a new epidemic of abuse has arisen: battered computers.

Sure, users run computers too long, throw them out when they get too old and slow, shower them with verbal abuse when they fail and rarely offer positive reinforcement. But out-and-out violence? The National Post reports that, indeed, “one in four computers is abused by its owner” (Jun. 6). A survey from Novatech Direct Ltd. found that 25 percent of respondents admitted to having physically attacked their computers. The problem ranges from screen-smashing to keyboard-pounding to those who shove their computers off their desks.

Why? Well, it is not the computers’ fault. David Furby, managing director of Novatech, said, “It’s clear that in many cases people were actually frustrated at their own lack of know-how.” And abusers are usually in denial. The Post reports that “those in the business of repairing the shattered computers say the problem is often hidden.”

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