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Americans Giving Up Social Life for the Web 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-talk-to-me-while-I'm-browsing dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "A survey into how the Web affects American adults has found that surfing the net has become an obsession for many, with the majority of U.S. adults feeling they cannot go for a week without going online and one in three giving up friends and sex for the Web. The survey asked 1,011 American adults how long they would feel OK without going on the Web and found that 15 percent said just a day or less, 21 percent said a couple of days and another 19 percent said a few days. It also found that 20 percent said they spend less time having sex because they are online."
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Americans Giving Up Social Life for the Web

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  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:28AM (#20677779)
    A survey run at the same time in a sex shop showed that most Americans have not time for the internet because they're having sex.
  • by metlin (258108) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:31AM (#20677789) Journal
    Do outdoorsy stuff. Go hiking, camping or just go climb a mountain.

    And if you do this regularly, you realize just how relaxing it is to not be connected to anything. In fact, I make it a point on some weekends to not answer my cellphone (in fact, I just put it away) or check my emails.

    Works wonders.
  • Sample bias (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Prysorra (1040518) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:31AM (#20677793)
    ARE YOU LONELY?

    (_) Yes

    (_) No

    (_) Wasn't asked the question because the surveyor assumes the answer is yes.

    ......
    And people wonder why teen virginity rates are so low. No one has the heart to ask the fat kid.
  • by madbawa (929673) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:32AM (#20677799) Journal
    Eeerie feeling that the population sample for the survey consisted of only Slashdotterz..mmmm.
  • by andy753421 (850820) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:38AM (#20677835) Homepage
    As a Computer Science student and generally computer person I know that I spend more time online than most of my friends and certainly more than the average American, but I'm not sure about the average slashdotter. On the other hand I've also gone for quite a while without a network connection (on the order of weeks/months) and it's really not as hard as people seem to think it is, although deleting spam when I get back is... For me, using the internet obsessively isn't because I'm 'addicted' to the internet but because most of the time there's just nothing better to do. If I find something more interesting I tend to spend less time online.
  • Digitivity? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e9th (652576) <<e9th> <at> <tupodex.com>> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:41AM (#20677853)
    Digitivity. Great. Another neologism from the virii/boxen crowd.
  • by TheDugong (701481) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:01AM (#20677949)
    In a recent survey 99% of the population of OECD countries admitted they would have trouble going for more than a few days without having a conversation, reading the news, watching TV, watching a movie listening to music, making a phone call, reading a book, writing a letter or paying a bill... amongst other things. More following this announcement from out sponsors.
  • by 0xC2 (896799) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:44AM (#20678151) Homepage
    I would venture to guess that a good number of Gen-Xers were conceived in the company of Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, to the tune of Doc S. And the Tonight show band. Don't believe me, ask your Dad. God, I miss those guys...
  • No true Geek... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HexaByte (817350) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:46AM (#20678157)
    It also found that 20 percent said they spend less time having sex because they are online."

    No true geek would ever give up a chance for sex, just for the Internet. That's because REAL Geeks never (or hardly) get any, and won't pass up the chance.

    This is really probably just women using the Internet as an excuse to keep their husbands/significant others at arm's length. "Not tonight Honey, I've gotta Google".

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @04:54AM (#20678427)
    It is that we get set in our ways and fear change. Whatever it is you do on a daily basis is what you are used to. It is not a comforting thought to think about changing that, especially for no reason. This is especially in relation to free time/entertainment. Yes, people who like goofing around on the net will be annoyed if you take that away. Ask a person who loves to watch movies how they'd feel about having their TV taken away, or a person who loves to cycle about having their bike taken away, and so on.

    This is especially true in a nice, modern, stable country as thankfully we have a lot of time we can spend on what we like. When all your more basic needs are taken care of, you can spend the rest of your time on entertaining yourself. All that we are seeing is that more people are using computers for entertainment. I'd be willing to bet that TV is still the biggest (last I checked Nielsen said households on average watched more than 4 hours a night) but computers are growing.

    Another factor may simply be introverts getting to do more of what they want. America has a bit of a skewed perspective that being extroverted is "good" and "normal" and being introverted is "bad" and "unhealthy". That's really not the case. Some people just thrive on getting to know lots of other people. They love meeting and interacting with any and everyone. Others don't, they are much more reserved and have smaller friends circles. They aren't interested in, or comfortable with, trying to meet every person that comes along.

    Well as far as all the psychological research I've ever read has been able to determine, there's nothing better or worse about either state. It is just different. Introverts don't need to be forced to try and socialize with everyone, extroverts don't need to be forced to sit alone and not talk to anyone. People need to be able to do what makes them happy. There's no reason why one person can't be happy spending most of their time alone or with a small circle of friends while another is happy going to social gatherings and meeting new people every day.
  • by Trailwalker (648636) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:54AM (#20678599)
    One of the joys of long distance backpacking is the six months or more without radio, tv, phones, newspapers, etc.

    You discover that most of what occurs in the world, or what is reported, has no effect on your happiness or wellbeing.

    Even better, you discover that most possessions are superfluous, you can be very happy with the items that can be crammed into a few cubic feet.

    Thoreau was right, man is possessed by his possessions. And, to update it a bit, by his gadgets.
  • by scottsk (781208) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:49AM (#20678803) Homepage
    Most Americans probably couldn't go a week without driving or using a telephone, either. The Internet is part of our life ecosystem now and a source for information and work. To go from there to drawing grandiose conclusions is to forget the maxim of statistics, correlation doesn't imply causation. If I didn't use the Internet for a week, I wouldn't have a job.
  • Re:Obsessed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dnoyeb (547705) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:36AM (#20678969) Homepage Journal
    Online over sex means the sex available aint very good. Its a preference.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:37AM (#20678973)
    Yeah, there's nothing more relaxing than being stuck out in nature dealing with a lack of bathroom facilities, a bunch of bugs and mosquitoes and constantly wondering if things are fine at work or if someone needs your help or if your own company that you run on the side is in good hands and not having the technological resources strapped on you to deal with them should you be needed.

    Thanks, but I think I'll stick with my laptop, cell phone and city landscape. Nature is ass and unplugging is highly overrated.
  • oversimplified (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:47AM (#20679011)
    The internet is my bookstore, research library, mailbox (letters, anyway), dvd/music store, clothing store, shoestore, toystore, stationery store (fountain pens/ink, moleskine journals), news outlet, travel agent, and god knows what else. People see you "surfing the web" and fail to differentiate between the different activities you're actually engaging in. That's a problem with oversimplification, not with internet use.
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:57AM (#20679051)

    Unfortunately, unlike Thoreau, some of us have real jobs that we can't just up and leave for 6 months or more.

    Seriously, how do you guys that do that kind of stuff get that time off? I agree some long vacation separated from society may well be fun, but the most time I can get off is a few weeks around Christmas.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2007 @10:27AM (#20680467)
    You forgot:

    Three: High School, University and a part time job, then a real STABLE job IN CIVIL SERVICE (NOT the private sector) in a city you happen to like, a nice car because you LIKE nice cars, a house because you can afford the mortgage and its cost grows at a MUCH SLOWER RATE than apartment rent AND YOU OWN IT, thirty years of steadily increasing pay and vacation time, and a fully-funded retirement at 65. Along the way, you marry, raise children, and become a pillar of your community. You die a contented old man surrounded by your loving family, and you are fondly remembered.

    Four: High School, University and a part time job, then a string of not-so-hot jobs because you feel an inexplicable need to take six months off to wander around the wilderness from time to time. This compels you to only gather enough possessions to fill a tiny studio apartment, so you never get married or end up divorced because women don't like that nonsense, you never raise children because you're too unstable economically, and you end up an old man working in McDonalds because you have no retirement plan to speak of. Finally, you fall asleep at the wheel of your clapped out ancient buick and drive straight into a liquor store, causing a tremendous fire that takes out half of your town and the newspaper prints a front-page story entitled "How could this have happened?"

    I'll take option "Three" please.

  • Re:No true Geek... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @11:01AM (#20681079) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, sure, geeks would never pass up the chance for sex, because it comes so rarely. If a woman comes up to a geek and says, "Would you like to have sex?" the geek will respond with a resounding "Yes I would!"

    The poorly socialized, autism-spectrum geek never passes up the chance for sex by totally ignoring a woman when she turns her wrists to him, or plays with her hair in front of him. He never blows it by forgetting her name, not making eye contact, or rambling on about the details his favorite obscure subject when she asks him a simple rhetorical question. The geek is perfectly capable of maintaining the long train of social cues and responses that allow a woman to drop her defenses and risk pregnancy, negative social status, and disease for a few moments of pleasure. His black-and-white binary world-view doesn't divide women into the Madonna/whore bifurcation when he sees her talking to another man or finds out details of her past.

    Nope, you're absolutely right, the alert, knowledgeable, sleuthing geek would never miss an opportunity for sex! He can also spot sarcasm at fifty yards!
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @11:42AM (#20681711)
    I can tell you that I spend more time online BECAUSE I am getting less sex.....not the other way around.

    -ted
  • by Stradivarius (7490) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @12:05PM (#20682069)
    I don't think it's necessarily as simple as finding something more interesting than sex in absolute terms. I suspect it's more of a marginal-utility effect.

    I've seen previous studies that claimed people often have sex because they are bored, rather than out of a specific desire for sex at that moment. Obviously sometimes you really just want sex, and in those cases I doubt you'll see anyone skipping it in favor of the Internet. But if the internet is just making people less bored, thus causing a reduction in sex-as-default-boredom-reliever, that's not necessarily a sign of anything bad. Nor that sex is somehow less valued than before.

    This sort of effect could probably be teased out by asking people how satisfied they are with the amount of sex they have. For those unsatisified, they're probably not likely to skip out on sex for the internet. But those who are getting "enough" may well be willing to spend more of time online. That seems perfectly healthy to me.
  • by krotkruton (967718) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:18PM (#20684919)
    No, I think you're missing the point, just like the article. Let me put a little spin on it:

    ---In other news, studies found many American adults have kicked their addiction to going off the grid and social interaction. Instead of being obsessed with hearing themselves talk while others wait their turn to do the same, 20% of adults say that they prefer to have conversations online, where, although they have to deal spammers and a few other nuisances, they find they can locate others with a desire for real discussion. On the nature side, many adults these days find they are more comfortable being in constant contact with current events and their friends and co-workers, instead of leaving on long trips where they can do nothing productive during that time.---

    Now if that sounds a little condescending, you know how some of us feel in reading this summary and some of the comments that followed. We all have our ways to wind down and "get away," so don't try to tell me that yours is better than mine. I don't like being in nature or being away from the internet for long periods of time. It's not an addiction, it's a preference.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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