Going Offline Just As Hard As Giving Up Drinking & Smoking
Recently, consumer research firm Intersperience surveyed over 1,000 people on their attitudes towards their use of the Internet, smart phones and other gadgets, and asked them to go 24 hours without any access to the web. The result? A number of participants said going offline was similar to quitting drinking or smoking.
Scientists have learned that our smart phones, computers and other devices have become such an important part of our lives that we suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to a drug addict who cannot get a fix. Earlier this year, researchers asked hundreds of students from 12 universities around the world to stay away from all emails, text messages, updates on Facebook and Twitter. They weren't even allowed to read newspapers. The students kept journals of their experiences during their period of 'information deprivation'. The research showed the students told of physiological and physical symptoms comparable to addicts trying to quit smoking or drugs, including feeling fidgety, anxious and isolated, and even reaching out for their mobile phone, while knowing it was no longer there.
Have you taken the plunge? Do you think you could go just 24 hours without using any gadgets, devices, phones or laptops? Could you live a day without checking Facebook and Twitter? I have been accused of clutching my phone as though I were drowning and it was the only thing that could save me. However, I like having instant access to information. I like knowing my friends and family can contact me immediately, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. I don't feel that being 'plugged in' has negatively affected my life or my relationships. Right now, I have no interest in finding out for myself what it would be like to go unplugged for 24 hours.