Journal of Nursing

Going Offline Is As Hard As Quitting Drinking or Smoking



Lack of internet access 'like having a hand chopped off'


SAUSALITO, CA (ASRN.ORG) -- The majority of people feel upset and lonely when they are deprived of access to the internet, according to consumer research.  

A new study has revealed that 53 per cent feel upset when denied access and 40 per cent feel lonely if they are unable to go online. 

The research found that people experience these feelings even if denied online access for a short time. 

The study was carried out by the consumer research firm Intersperience, that  surveyed over 1,000 people. 

Participants were quizzed on their attitudes to the use of the internet, smart phones, and other devices, and were even asked to go 24 hours without any access to internet technology. 

Giving up all technology allowing web access was described by some participants as similar to quitting drinking or smoking. 

One person surveyed even said being deprived of the internet was 'like having my hand chopped off'. 

Paul Hudson, chief executive of Intersperience, told the Daily Telegraph: 'Online and digital technology is increasingly pervasive, influencing our friendships, the way we communicate, the fabric of our family life, our work lives, our buying habits and our dealings with organizations.' 

Earlier this year, scientists revealed that gadgets are such an important part of our lives that we suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to a drug addict who cannot get a fix.

Researchers at the University of Maryland persuaded hundreds of students at 12 colleges around the world to agree not to use any technological devices including television and radios for 24 hours. 

The volunteers had to stay away from all emails, text messages, updates on Facebook and Twitter. They were even deprived of newspapers. 

All they could have access to was a landline phone and books. Then the students kept diaries of their feelings during their period of 'information deprivation'. 

The scientists reported the volunteers told of physiological and physical symptoms comparable to addicts trying to quit smoking or drugs. 

These included feeling fidgety, anxious and isolated, and even reaching out for their mobile phone, which was no longer there. 

Some of those taking part in the experiment - called Unplugged - said they felt like they were undergoing 'cold turkey' to break a hard drug habit, while others said it felt like going on a diet.

Copyright 2011- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights Reserved   


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Editor-in Chief:
Kirsten Nicole

Editorial Staff:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Robyn Bowman
Kimberly McNabb
Lisa Gordon
Stephanie Robinson

Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Liz Di Bernardo
Cris Lobato
Elisa Howard
Susan Cramer