Internet as hard to give up as cigarettes, liquor, study says

Losing net access even for a day described as a "nightmare"

How would you handle giving up your Internet connection -- your Facebook friends, Twitter, online news and shopping -- for just a single day?

If you think being disconnected for even a day might drive you nuts, you're not alone. A survey of 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65 in the U.K. showed that many Britons are as emotionally connected to the Internet and all of their devices as smokers are to their cigarettes.

Some said giving up their Internet access, even for just a day, was as hard as quitting smoking or drinking, according to Intersperience, a consumer research firm based in England. One person surveyed described it as "like having my hand chopped off." Another called it "my biggest nightmare."

This latest survey echoes other reports that have found that people have become addicted to their devices and to social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

In March 2010, Retrevo Inc., a consumer electronics shopping and review site, reported that many people admitted to being obsessed with social media, such as exchanging information about family and friends, posting photos and getting updates.

The Retrevo study noted that 48 per cent of those polled say they update Facebook or Twitter during the night or as soon as they wake up, and nearly a fifth of people younger than 25 say they update Facebook or Twitter anytime they happen to wake up during the night.

About a year ago, the Oxygen Media Insights Group, reported that a majority of women who use social networking sites say they are addicted to them. Nearly 60 per cent of the women polled said they are more likely to connect with people online than they are to talk with them face to face. And nearly 40 per cent called themselves "Facebook addicts."

In the recent Intersperience study, 40 per cent of those surveyed said they feel "lonely" when they aren't able to email or text.

However, not everyone reported being so tied to their digital lives. The survey showed that 23 per cent of respondents said they would feel "free" if they were disconnected from online activities.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Mobile and WirelessRetrevoWeb 2.0 and Web AppstwitterinternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?