‘Today’s generation is so hooked to mobiles and the Internet that depriving them of their cellphones, e-mails and gadgets like television and iPod could leave them suffering from symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts trying to give up, a new study has revealed.
For the study, an international team of researchers asked volunteers to stay away from all e-mails, text messages, Facebook and Twitter updates for 24 hours. They found the subjects began to develop symptoms typically seen in smokers attempting to quit.
Some of those subjects taking part 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. The condition is now being described as Information Deprivation Disorder. “We were not just seeing psychological symptoms, but also physical symptoms,” The Daily Telegraph quoted Dr. Roman Gerodimos, a lecturer in communication who led the UK section of the international study, as saying.
In fact, in the experiment, called Unplugged, the volunteers at 12 universities around the world spent 24 hours without access to computers, mobile phones, iPods, television, radio and even newspapers. They were allowed to use landline telephones or read books.
In the research, led by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, the subjects were asked to keep diaries about their experience.
Entries in the diaries showed that many recorded feeling fidgety, anxious or isolated. Dr. Gerodimos of Bournemouth University said: “The extent to which we are using some of this modern technology is changing us. Participants described feeling fidgety and kept reaching for their mobile phones even when they weren’t there.
“There were also some good effects as people developed coping mechanisms they went out for walks and visited friends rather than sitting in front of a computer.”