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Users smash up PCs in outbreaks of network rage

Survey reveals mice are frequently assaulted – cables ripped out, balls stomped on etc

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Violent acts against computers have become such a problem that behavioural psychologists have branded this digital vandalism as "network rage." Eighty-three per cent of network managers surveyed reported abusive and often violent behaviour by users as a result of computer problems. Acts of wanton violence resulted in shattered monitors, smashed keyboards and kicked-in hard drives. Sometimes the PC GBH was so bad it was impossible to make out the identity of mice that had been flung across a room -- their plastic shells dashed against walls and shattered into tiny fragments. "When people are under a lot of pressure from supervisors and managers to meet tight deadlines, they can become frustrated and lose control of their temper," said Boston-based psychologist Dr Will Calmas. "Instead of voicing their frustrations to their supervisors, some people choose to take out their aggression on inanimate objects -- in this case, their monitor, keyboard or mouse." According to the survey conducted by Concord Communications, the number one piece of equipment broken during an act of network rage is the keyboard. Broken mice and shattered monitors tied for second place and kicked-in hard drives placed third. One network manager who asked to remain anonymous said: "I had a user who complained that her cursor would not move, so she would repeatedly slap the terminal on one side to move it." And another told of how one irate woman was close to breaking point after being unable to send any e-mail. "After I calmed her down, I asked to see a sample of an email message she was trying to send. The email address included street name, town, county and full postal code." * If you've witnessed network rage first hand -- or wish to admit to battering a PC from time to time -- why not share your experiences at The Register's Message Board. ®

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