Dependance on technology in the industrialized parts of the world is at an all time high. This should be no shock to anyone, as the nature of technological development is to become more and more pervasive. If the machines are in fact currently plotting the overthrow of the human race, they are doing a splendid job – because we are undeniably tied up in our devices.
In one study released in April, the American hunger for technology is growing at an exponential rate. 88% of people reported having internet access, up from 55% in 2005. The percentage of people with iPods jumped from 6% in 2005 to 37% in 2011. Half of all 18-34 year olds own a smartphone. And over half the people surveyed were connected through some sort of social network.
A new study in the UK has determined that our dependance on technology, especially the internet, is quite comparable to drug addiction.
Seriously, respondents likened “quitting” the internet to quitting smoking or drinking.
Consumer research group Intersperience conducted a study with over 1,000 Brits ranging in age from 18 to 65. They asked about their “digital lives” and found that the internet, social media, mobile devices, and even TV and radio hold a firm grip on the daily lives of many.
Here are a couple of findings from that survey –
- 53% said that they feel “upset” when they don’t have access to an internet connection
- 40% said that they feel “lonely” when unable to go online
- As you would expect, young people found the prospect of giving up technology especially troubling
- Only 23% of those surveyed said they would be OK to sever their connection with the internet.
The study asked participants to attempt a full day – 24 dark, desolate hours without any form of technology. Some of the responses: “My biggest nightmare” and “Like having my hand chopped off.”
According to the study, a good amount of people broke the rules and turned on the radio or the TV, later saying that they didn’t see those as technology. Apparently, those things are so engrained in our culture that we only regard new tech like smartphones and social networking as true technology.
“Online and digital technology is increasingly pervasive. Our ‘Digital Selves’ research shows how just dominant a role it now assumes, influencing our friendships, the way we communicate, the fabric of our family life, our work lives, our purchasing habits and our dealings with organizations,” said Paul Hudson, Chief Executive of Intersperience.
So, basically everything. Social media, especially, is no longer a diversion but and integral part of daily life. Why take a picture if you aren’t going to upload it to Facebook?
Another recent study called “The World Unplugged” asked 1,000 students to abstain from any form of social media for 24 hours. The results mirror these new findings – The Internet is like crack.
Maybe not that severe, but not too far off when you read the responses. Deprived of things like Facebook, Twitter and their smartphones, the young adults said things like “I felt dead,” “I began to feel distress and despair” and “My senses went numb and I felt paralyzed.”
Have you ever felt paralyzed when you go with technology and social media? Let us know in the comments.