Of the more than 1,000 people ages 18 to over 65 queried, 40 percent said they'd feel "lonely" if they had to go a day without an Internet connection, according to a news release Friday from consumer research company Intersperience.
The participants of the study answered a lengthy questionnaire and were asked to refrain from any Internet use for 24 hours. One participant said it was "like having my hand chopped off." For others, the thought was inconceivable. Some even had withdrawal symptoms similar to those of a drug or alcohol addict.
"Online and digital technology is increasingly pervasive," said Paul Hudson, chief executive of Intersperience. "Our 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."
Among the participants, the younger people had a much more difficult time disconnecting that their over-40 counterparts, the study found. Fifty-three percent said they felt upset when denied Internet access; and 23% said the prospect of a day without the Internet made them feel "free."
"The way we engage with technology has occurred faster than many of us had anticipated," Hudson said. "This has profound implications for society both from a personal and commercial perspective."