University students faced with a sudden Internet and Media blackout begin to feel withdrawal symptoms after 24 hours. That according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media and the Public Agenda.
The study followed the reactions of 1,000 students the world over who were required to abstain from all forms of media, including and especially the Internet, for one day. ONE DAY! The study concluded inevitably that INTERNET ADDICTION is indeed a real phenomenon and a certain clinical diagnosis.
One day, only one day away from the Internet, and in fact all media, and the devices which produce all such content, ONLY ONE DAY produced the following symptoms:
A HEIGHTENED SENSE OF DISTRESS
A FEELING OF IMMENSE ISOLATION
A STATE OF CONFUSION
A GENERAL MALAISE AND FEELING OF BOREDOM
And finally, a recognition of the:
FEELING OF ADDICTION…
In but 24 hours having to live without any form of media, including and especially the Internet.
Think of the power of media content, including:
1. Internet Content Generally
4. News Shows
6. The Thousands of Applications
And more. Much more. The sense of loss and isolation, the distress, confusion and boredom was a real symptomatic phenomenon when these students were deprived of their cell phones and other devices which produced content and information for ONLY ONE DAY!
That led one student to state most categorically:
“I can not imagine life without media!”
Virtually every student in the study indicated that he or she could not live without the constant entertainment, news and information provided by media and the Internet. COULD NOT LIVE! Said another student:
“I am always wondering why I became so dependent on these media now. When I was a child, I did not have these but I was also very happy every day. Why? Why does it look like that today?”
That student felt envious indeed of those who were not dependent on media.
Yet another student “felt dead” without media. And another said, get this, that her body was:
“ITCHING LIKE A CRACKHEAD”
And still another said that the whole 24 hour experience one lonely day, was SICKENING.
For these students, the Internet is the ultimate:
CAN’T LIVE WITH IT
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT
Virtually every student felt extreme distress at being DISCONNECTED.
The study also indicated that the students no longer search for news because the news comes to them. It comes by way of:
3. Web Sidebars
5. News Alerts on Phone
Just to name some. The students concluded that there was simply far too much news and information. The students felt that there was significant MEDIA OVERLOAD.
So, we have now a generation of Media and Internet users who have a mental craving for information. Not only mental, but physical as well. The study indicated that there was indeed a PHYSICAL CRAVING FOR DEVICES. So much so that students used addictive drug references to indicate how they felt about being deprived of their access devices. That included a craving, an addictive craving to have the latest, newest, most technologically advanced device (i.e. Smartphones) to get access to this information.
There is hardly anyone in the United States without a media or Internet access device, whether television, radio, satellite, cable, laptop, cell phone, iPhone, Smartphone or whatever. It would be most interesting if you, or I, would take the test, the challenge of doing away with all such devices and all such information access for:
ONLY ONE DAY
Do you think you could do it? Could you head out into the countryside, away from everybody and everything, and stay overnight in a tent, or boarding house with access to nothing but, heaven forbid, other people. I wonder why symptoms of withdrawal, or distress, or isolation, or confusion, or boredom we would have? To the extent any such symptoms arose, we could say that we were addicted to media, to information, to the devices which provided that information, to that extent. Most people simply can not be alone, with a good book, or walking, and meditating, or praying, or simply thinking, with only a deep appreciation for self, other human beings, for the magnificent world in which we live, and the God who made it all happen, including we ourselves. We came into this world all alone, and we managed to survive those first several years without the Internet. With that initial experience, there ought to be a way we could live in this world without it. We should be able to find what is really important in life, on our own, without having to download that information from the Internet. After all, you don’t need a cell phone to pray.
What do you think? Are you addicted, at least to some extent? Can you live a productive, healthy life without the Internet and a cell phone?