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The Internet Communications

Experiment Cuts Off Online Junkies from Internet 409

Ant (an Internet junkie) writes "An article from The Register reports one begins gibbering uncontrollably because he/she can't get a fix without internet access after two weeks. That, at least, is according to an 'Internet Deprivation Study' carried out by Yahoo! and advertising outfit OMD. Participants in the human experiment were deprived of the web for 14 days, and found themselves quickly succumbing to 'withdrawal and feelings of loss, frustration and disconnectedness.' The reason for the rapid collapse of their universe is - say the researchers - because 'internet users feel confident, secure and empowered.'"
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Experiment Cuts Off Online Junkies from Internet

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  • by lordsilence ( 682367 ) * on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:39AM (#10338015) Homepage
    What about the 5min average slashdot fix?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:43AM (#10338025)
      I bet that took a lot of effor to make it look like you're not going for FP. Nice effort, ace!
    • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:43AM (#10338483) Homepage Journal
      What about the 'wait 20 seconds before you can use this website again' factor?

      I hate that man, that sends me into insta-fits..
    • What about the 5min average slashdot fix?

      Yeah man, we just can't seem to
      live without our slashdot, man
      we're hooked on the stuff, man
      d00d, yesterday I saw this dog
      and like, he was licking his butt man
      [refresh] [refresh]
      I'm going to go get some chips, man
      [refresh] [refresh] [refresh]
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IronMagnus ( 777535 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:41AM (#10338022)
    Next we'll see how people who are used to talking and communicating with others in person in every day life react when they are locked in a well lit room for two weeks with no human contact.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:23AM (#10338155) Homepage
      Not sure if you're trying to make a wry comparison , but going without internet access hardly constitutes going without human contact. In fact in a lot of circumstances it leads to it! When I say human contact I mean face to face , trying stuff into an IM or email client IMO is not human contact. Anyway , I suspect if these people weren't addicted to the internet they'd be addicted to something else whether it be drink, drugs, adrenaline sports , whatever...
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:37AM (#10338192)
        For some of us, talking to people online is the only contact with our friends. Cutting the connection means we are unable to communicate with those friends (at least for me, they live in different countries).

        You may be to old to consider it human contact, but no matter if it's face to face, a phone, or AIM, the person on the other end is a human. My mother felt the same way, couldn't tell the difference between me chatting with some friends online and playing a game. Until the day one of the people I chatted with came down to visit.

        These are real people, real friends, and for some of us the only friends we have. Cutting off the net connection is like cutting off a face-to-face persons contact to his friends.
      • Ehh... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Arcanix ( 140337 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:02AM (#10338267)
        Who needs human contact anyway? Humans are SO out this season.

        The real future is robots, sex robots in particular. With one of those I could avoid all human contact and still visit Slashdot regularly while being "serviced".
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by edittard ( 805475 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:18AM (#10338435)
        When I say human contact I mean face to face
        Doggy style not your thing, then?
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:19AM (#10338788) Homepage
        1. When I say human contact I mean face to face , trying stuff into an IM or email client IMO is not human contact.

        So, if your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/... sends you an IM/mail/... they didn't really contact you? No matter what they say? You'd feel nothing?

        I thought people that out of touch died about 10 years ago. Clue: If it exists, it's real. If humans do it, it's human contact.

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:17AM (#10339671) Homepage
          There's a difference between human contact and human communication. It's why we still miss people we're far from when we talk to them on the phone. When we miss someone who is far away, what we miss is their presence - the proximity of their bodies, the sense that bodies are in the same space.

          With a few exceptions, humans and their ancestors have long been social creatures. The presence of other bodies sends out a variety of chemical and visual signals that we respond to subliminally, and the absence of those inputs has real effects.

          Would you be happy with a girlfriend/boyfriend with whom all your "contact" was by IM and the telephone? Would you consider that a worthwhile intimate relationship? If you were a child, would you feel that a parent who "phoned in" regularly was really part of your life?
          • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Spoing ( 152917 )
            1. Would you be happy with a girlfriend/boyfriend with whom all your "contact" was by IM and the telephone?

            "All" is a cheap strawman. You can know someone better from letters/email, phone, IM ... than just by being next to them physically.

            To tell me it is not 'real' is absurd at best and archaic at worst. If you do not see that others are 'real' and treat them as such even if you don't see them, that's not my problem. BTW...why reply to me at all? ;]

            • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 )
              It's not the "realness" of the person on the other side of the medium that I am challenging - it's the sufficiency of that sort of contact to fill the human need for others.

              As for your claim that you can know someone better by letters, etc, I disagree: it's fair easier to decieve someone, intentionally or even unintentionally, about one's true nature, situation, and motives, when using media at a remove. In proximity to someone, the unintended cues they give off in speech will tell me things about their cu
    • It depends what you do on the net, and if it really makes you happy.

      And it depends what kind of life you have outside the net, and if that world makes you happy.

      For example when I join an Art of Living [] course for a week or two, I come back invigorated and ready to rock the world. I'd just had an extraordinary time without any computers!

      Then I sit down in front of a computer, and all that energy is drained into silly bugs, and a dozens things I have to repair and fix in order to remain sane.

      I can imagine
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:43AM (#10338024)
    I'm going to give up the internet cold-turkey, and switch to something healthy, like heroin
  • by Ronald Dumsfeld ( 723277 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:43AM (#10338027)

    They should've tried it with some of the right-wing American slashdotters. The researchers would've got a shotgun shoved up their nose and told to reconnect the Internet NOW!
    • As opposed to what? Some person who gets "enlightened" by their exposure offline, and decides to form the NLF (Net Liberation Front)?

      Suddenly, a hacker breaks into OSTG and changes the /. front page: "Free the people of their addiction, the Net must go, and it must go NOW!" Several server farms are bombed.

      The thing is, I am an American Right-Wing Slashdotter, and I found the parent funny, because I know people who would pull a shotgun to someone's face for even mentioning they should give up access for a
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I know people who would pull a shotgun to someone's face for even mentioning they should give up access for a week.

        Thats not because they're Right Wing, that's because they're unhinged.
  • What I miss (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I miss most of all google and imdb when I'm disconnected. The daily blogs, where I spend most of my time on the net, not so much.
    • Quite the same here (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:29AM (#10338172) Journal
      During the summer I generally go spend some time (up to two months, generally three weeks) away from cities and all internet accesses. The only thing I miss then, is the quick and convenient access to detailed information about any subject, so instead I go to the closest public library.

      The daily comics, blogs, news, discussion forums, I don't miss at all, even though I tend to spend hours on them.
      • I'm the same way. I find I can leave it all behind once I go camping or what not despite normally spending hours on the 'net at home. But the one thing I find myself doing is wishing I had some sort of text only Google appliance I could fit in my pocket so that I could ask simple questions.
  • by Lurks ( 526137 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:45AM (#10338034) Homepage
    I rent an office in OMD. Now the posters on the wall talking about the power of viral marketing are making rather more sense...
  • Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:45AM (#10338035) Journal
    It is ratehr when I go hiking in the Swiss Mountains, I suddenly feel empowered...
    I guess they should not just disconnect these "users" but rather offer them to practise some intensive sport activities instead.

    Hiking in the mountains [] is a good candidate because it is also rewarding : you get to see some magnificent landscape [] when you reach the top.
    • Re:Strange (Score:2, Interesting)

      by linzeal ( 197905 )
      I would rather mine said mountain from a remote location like coastal oregon in a reclaimed victorian hotel turned into office space, but to each his own. I get enough exercise walking to and from the bus station when I am commuting. 2 miles a day is enough, right?
    • Re:Strange (Score:5, Funny)

      by tukkayoot ( 528280 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:25AM (#10338158) Homepage
      Haha, chump! I got to see the magnificent landscapes by clicking that link, and I didn't have to move one foot!
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:38AM (#10338340) Journal
      I was only there about 10 days, didn't take the computer, some of the hotel rooms didn't even have phones. No problem, mon. Seemed a bit silly to use maps made of actual dead trees, but it worked ok. Spent a lot of time talking to family, hanging out at the beach, drinking things with rum in them, driving around volcanoes.

      Of course, when I got back home, my PC was grumpy and had several hundred non-spam emails to hand me, mixed in with spam about how I could win free trips to Hawaii.

  • If only I could. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbruels ( 253523 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:45AM (#10338037) Homepage
    Honestly, I would give anything to get away from the Internet for two weeks. A disconnection, though probably disorienting for a couple days, would be so pleasant.

    Unfortunately, since all my work (read: paychecks) come from the computer, I can't do that.

    That sucks.
    • Vacations are great. Go into an area without net, get away from everything. Hike. Canoe. Whatever. I'm a net junkie, but a break is still a good thing.
    • Re:If only I could. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:17AM (#10338142) Homepage Journal
      "Honestly, I would give anything to get away from the Internet for two weeks. A disconnection, though probably disorienting for a couple days, would be so pleasant.

      Unfortunately, since all my work (read: paychecks) come from the computer, I can't do that."

      It kind of bugs me that the term junkie has reared it's ugly head. I think about my own reasons for using the net a lot, and it occurs to me that there really isn't anything 'bad' about it. I participate on a 3D art community. Staying in tune with that has been quite beneficial to my career, plus I've made good friends out of it. If I had missed those key moments, I wouldn't have what I value today.

      It's a little different, like in your case, where the internet creates work for you. When I had a tech support job, I wanted weeks away from a phone and email. Why? Because when that stuff arrived, it was more unpleasantness. But what about when it's all good? What if my phone rang with freelance job offers?

      I think about others out there as well. Some people are looking for love. Some people are looking for information about their particular interests. All good things.

      Eh. I guess I'm only responding because of what Slashdot's summary of the article said. Yeah I wanna be on the net constantly, but gimme a break, if I hadn't done that I wouldn't be at the job I love right now.
      • by FlopEJoe ( 784551 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:28AM (#10338450)
        No kidding

        It's like when I was looking for a house and had "broadband access" near the top of my list. My non-geek friends laughed themselves silly about this but I wasn't in on the joke. They have kids so their first criteria was schools, neighborhood, and such.

        For me, it's the point of "how do you get movie info, tv listings, dictionary, political scoop, phonebook entries, asymetrical comm, product info, latest music/movie releases, and so on, and so on." That's excluding all the info I need for the latest programming techniques and trends. For non-onliners, the dozen different sources for info works. For me the net is a one stop info source. I don't understand them and they don't understnad me.

        Sure, the net has its pr0n and time wasters. But it's a tool that can be used for good and evil. To call it an addiction is like saying a hammer is an addiction to a serial killer who uses it to kill. It's not like smoking or crack with no positive use. It's like the hammer that can kill or hammer a nail.

    • by KalvinB ( 205500 )
      I run a very reliable (see netcraft result) [] web-server that I can and do happily ignore for long stretches of time.

      While I'm stuck working part time as a programmer to pay the bills (a nice gig that allows me to make my own hours while I'm going to school), I've got a web-site that is beginning to show promise as a way to get a decent amount of residual income. The sections that bring in the most revenue are the sections I havn't touched in months. So it's not something I must do constantly.

      I'm also mak
  • Symptoms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pretendstocare ( 816218 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:47AM (#10338042) Homepage
    "...withdrawal and feelings of loss, frustration and disconnectedness..."

    Can't being on the internet all day/night cause this to happen with your real life? or is that just me....

  • Like Louis in the second ring world book I take time off the wire for maintnace such as sleep, food and exercise, if for no other reason is that by living longer I may have more time to be online!!

    why,yes i was jokeing...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:49AM (#10338051)
    Baudrillard was predicting this in 1981 in Fatal Strategies at least, and problably before that no doubt. "Must we put information on a diet?" (13, Semiotext(e))
  • Light (Score:5, Funny)

    by Un0r1g1nal ( 711750 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:50AM (#10338053)
    <patient>ooooooo whats that big see through thing
    <doctor>we call that a window
    <pt>urghhh M$ windows
    <dr>no no, this is a REAL window, look no leaks

    Bout time some of us took a walk outside I think, go walk in the countryside where we cant even get wireless for our laptops :P
    • Re:Light (Score:3, Funny)

      by gatesh8r ( 182908 )
      EEEEEEEP Noooooooooo.... please GOD NO! I remember the LAST time I went to "the countryside" -- that big blue room with those brown pillers with... GREEN on top... and the carpet was strange!
    • Re:Light (Score:3, Interesting)

      I try to go hiking every once in awhile, and am having a harder and harder time of getting out of cell phone range...
  • by nmoog ( 701216 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:53AM (#10338066) Homepage Journal
    Im just using this stupid monitor and keyboard until I can get google embedded directly in my eyeballs. I really rely on that sucker.

    I was just doing some MENSA puzzles, thinking "man, these are sooo easy". Then I realised I was just googling the answers.

    I dont know what I'd do if I had to think for myself for 14 days.
  • by vilain ( 127070 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:53AM (#10338067)
    I was in a class for 12 days in Hawaii and didn't miss my net access at all. If I hadn't been with the instructor who wanted to check her email during a day off at a nearby Internet cafe, I wouldn't have bothered. All I had was 132 spam messages anyway.

    Now, taking away my books for two weeks would be another matter...
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:54AM (#10338069) Homepage
    What's next? People sueing TimeWarner or AOL for getting them addicted?

    It WILL happen sooner or later. And at the very least, expect the attept to be made.

    Ya, call me cynical. But do I have a reason not to be in this age of "$$$ Jackpot Justice $$$"?

  • When I'm online... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slumpy ( 304072 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:55AM (#10338072) Homepage
    I feel confident, secured, and empowered.....if only this translated to real life.
  • a real test (Score:4, Funny)

    by scottking ( 674292 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:56AM (#10338076) Homepage
    wanna really see them twitch?

    take away their cellphones too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:57AM (#10338079)
    "Ask your doctor about Intergain for withdrawal and feelings of loss, frustration and disconnectedness during inconvient internet movements. Not to be taken while eating, drinking, breathing, typing, sleeping, driving, upgrading or patching. May cause excessive borrowing of toys from children. May also cause a desire for a girlfriend with a 300 baud modem and an 8 bit computer."

  • by NathanM412 ( 750512 ) <nathanm412@gma i l . c om> on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:57AM (#10338082)
    I was going to criticize this article as over-exagerated until I realized that I was reading Slashdot at 3:45am because I was having trouble sleeping. Oh well, what can you do?
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by I7D ( 682601 ) <> on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:59AM (#10338089) Homepage
    I can relate. Freshman year of college (4 yrs ago) I could't have the internet for historical preservation reasons. I'd been addicted to it before I had to lose it, so it sucked at first. I got better grades, got more work done, made a bunch of friends, went out..., but when I got the net back, even though i was sort of better off without it, mentally I was like "ahhhhhh, i'm connected again"
  • "Disconnected"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pantero Blanco ( 792776 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:07AM (#10338110)
    I'm online a good bit of the time...but when I'm away from the Internet for more than a few days, I don't get some strange emotion called "Disconnected". That would imply that I'm away from part of my body or mind.

    I do feel a bit annoyed that I can't talk with friends who aren't physically near me (I don't have a cell phone), and it's inconvenient when I want to look something up, but that's about it. I really don't see how someone who mostly just chats when they're online could get "addicted" to the Internet.
  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:14AM (#10338128) Homepage Journal
    I'm an Webaddict.I didn't see it at first, how it hurt my family and loved ones. I didn't care to think about the people I'd rob to pay my subscription fees to the porn sites. And there's so many porn sites, soon the 7-11 wasn't enough, I had to hit the Shell stations and the Stop 'n Go, one morning I was real desperate and hit up the Krispy Kreme and I even took all the change in the big styrofoam cup, heh... I still can't forget the helpless look on that guys face. I don't know why I did it. Maybe it was because had just become a thing called a port hole or something... 35 brands of big busty broads... I ... I just couldn't help myself or something... yeah... and so much tit, more tit than you'd ever seen before, soon I was at 200 subsrciptions to all these other port holes and I was like the tit god of the frikken universe! All those girls at my finger tips, mpegs, jpeg galleries, live web feeds! All of it Mine MIne MIne!!! I was a real live electronic sex god! Whoooyah muthfukahhh! A sex god!!!! You hear that? A real live electronic sex ... mmmmfhhhhhh ... sex godmmmpthhhhh....

    "And now we'd like to introduce another new member, Neville"
  • You're posting, at 3 am. to this story.
    You have over 2200 posts.
    You mod your pals +5 Funny and -1 Troll. In real life.
    You constantly Profit! from ???
    You can imagine a beowulf cluster of sandwitches.
    You wonder if linux can run on your girlfreind.
    You snicker at the last one, because you don't know any girls.
    You can spot a goatse link from a mile away.
    You are no longer shocked by goatse.
    You still can't figure out why /. changed to a non-number karma system, if pageviews make them $$$, you probably bought the new server which you constantly stress.
    You never get mod points.
    You know all my posts are hilarious.
  • As far as I can tell they've just expected people to carry on their lives as normal, minus Internet access. That isn't going to work. If there are no other changes to the person's environment/lifestyle then they're left with a gap where they'd use the Internet for recreation or socialising.

    People should try avoiding the Internet when they go on holiday (you know, go outside, expose yourself to the daystar, etc.). If you can manage that, then perhaps you can cut back on Internet usage in day-to-day lif
  • by Feanturi ( 99866 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:29AM (#10338173)
    "We couldn't plan a weekend getaway," confirmed Kim V, presumably from the house in which she had been imprisoned since the web embargo.

    So Kim's parents, nor her grandparents, were ever able to go anywhere for the weekend? How in the hell did we as a species ever get this far, that we can suddenly become a bunch of helpless twits? Christ it's amazing, that in such a short time, humanity has gone so far backwards, head firmly planted in ass, as to be generating shit like this. I do take the article to be something of a joke, I mean it *has* to be.. Fuck, this is crazy, I have to stop drinking while reading this site...
  • by lewp ( 95638 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:36AM (#10338191) Journal
    All of you people are so interesting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @04:43AM (#10338213)
    Last summer, my Linux firewall got 0wn3d when I neglected to update my WuFTP daemon. As a result, I had to bypass my firewall box and plug my main machine directly to the 'net. Well, I was too lazy to fix the Linux box, and lo and behold after a couple days my Windows box was 0wn3d too, this time with a spam trojan. Shaw Cable disconnected my modem due to the spam, and I was left trying to figure out a way to get updated virus tables on my box with nothing that would reasonably connect to the internet.

    During that week, I was without the internet that occupied me some 12 hours a day. I didn't become incoherent, or babble, or anything. I became productive. I made myself breakfast every morning. I cleaned my apartment for the first time in a year. I even organized my tape collection, went through my old papers, and finished a model starship that had spent 7 years in drydock.

    So it isn't as serious as this study leads it to believe. Likely they didn't get people who had internet COMPULSIONS (they aren't addictions, which require actual physical or chemical dependence) like myself, but rather people with out-and-out internet PATHOLOGIES. There's a world of difference between something you like so much you don't usually give it up (X-box, internet, TV, sex, rebuilding an engine) and something that you irrationally can't live without.
  • News at Eleven (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:20AM (#10338310)
    This just in. The telephone changed the way we all lived and undeveloped adolescent girls and boys spend inordinant amounts of time talking on it, describing a feeling of disconnect when deprived.
    Get a grip. This exact same crap was said a century ago. The past is sooooo golden. That is, until you get there. Then it sucks.
  • by Random Web Developer ( 776291 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:49AM (#10338359) Homepage
    The withdrawal symptoms from being disconnected depend a lot on what else you can do at the time.

    If i leave on a holiday for 2 weeks I always leave my laptop at home, and i never miss it because i am in a totally different environment.

    If I get disconnected on a rainy sunday on the other hand i'll be running around the house not knowing what to do
    • by Peyna ( 14792 )
      Which makes it a lot different than withdrawal from any kind of substance abuse. If you quit smoking, drinking, smoking crack, whatever, you can't take a vacation and forget about it.
  • by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:58AM (#10338386) Journal
    Pffft... they think they've cut me off, and that I've gone clean... What they don't know is, I snuck a Blackberry in by hiding it up my ass and I'm using it to get Slashdot! Gotta get my fix, you know...

    Thank god for wireless, otherwise : )
  • very unscientific (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:06AM (#10338409)
    This study didn't take into account all the possible factors that might be affecting their numbers. They blame the internet itself when the underlying cause might merely be something the internet provided them an abundance of.

    For example, deprevation of pornography, I'm not trying to be funny here. The lack of this by itself could be contributing to some of the psychological distress these participants felt.

    Lack of the extensive socialization the internet can provide. Some people are more social online than they would otherwise be in real life. And, if you consider the sheer numbers of people you might converse with online, the internet can be said to provide a far more diversified and abundant social experience. Forums, newsgroups, IRC, chatrooms, blogs, instant messenging, etc.

    Much needed play time, which participants might not be experienced (due to a lack of attempting to find other things to do) in finding elsewhere.

    And, computers in general can provide the instant gratification that human beings seek in their environment.

    We can count out the last two because they were allowed to continue computer use without internet access.

    There may even be physiological variables at work here. Such as what sort of monitors they were using, LCD or CRT? If they were using one or the other that might affect the results. Other possibilies are similar addictions that have been observed with television, how are these related?

    At any rate, my point is that this study is far from conclusive about the effects of internet deprevation. Take it with a grain of salt. There are many factors here that weren't even considered. And, there is a lack of a control and experimental group. This study is simply not scientific. They seem to be treating it like a poll instead of a scientific study, but then they try to present the results as scientific evidence. It is foolish, don't buy in just yet.

    That isn't to say the observations aren't material, but their methods and resulting assumptions are suspect. Was there even a hypothesis formulated? Where are the statistics?

  • by dotmax ( 642602 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:32AM (#10338460)
    Yet more support for the idea that geeks should be treated as poorly as possible, as often as possible.

    Frankly, there ought to be a test before you're allowed online. Y'know, ride a bike 100 miles, juggle, kiss a member of the appropriate gender, do somethig like they do on This Old House, demonstrate the ability to speak extemporaneously in front of 1000 people, 5 and one, for periods > an hour, and sit quietly in a room for a week all alone.

    Compared to the people in the study, Comic Book Guy is a regular reniassance man.
    . .max
    where's my cattle prod?
  • by mrph ( 708925 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:49AM (#10338497) Journal
    Not that I think I would react in such an extreme way, but of course I recognize the feeling of being "detached" every time my DSL goes down.
    Even when there isn't any real activity, I feel strange when I can't see what is (or isnt) said on IRC, how many spam e-mails I have or haven't received, what news have or
    haven't shown up twice on slashdot and so on.

    The connection simply needs to be there and active. My network being disconnected makes me feel disconnected too. Just knowing that it isn't connected feels like an itch,
    and I have a hard time really concentrating until the connection is restored. Even if I'm not using it, or even if I'm not at home.

    • I don't know, but I would get a similar feeling anytime I can't do something because of a technical problem. Say if I want to cook something and the stove is not working, or if the telephone is out of order, the car is in the shop, etc. It's not really internet related, but simply the fact that you can't go about your normal routine.
  • Feel? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @07:57AM (#10338672)
    ...Internet users feel confident, secure and empowered...

    With all that information at your fingertips, the possibility to contact about anybody (that wants to be contacted) this is a small wonder. Internet users ARE confident, secure*1 and empowered.

    *1 If you equal the small chance of being run over by a truck at home as secure...
  • by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:13AM (#10338745)
    I recently have been on 2 5 day not only inet but power blackouts!

    The 1st time was not so bad. I had my Palm fully charged and loaded with good books to read. And that is not unimportant as it seems because it is a back-lit screen so I could read at night without having to resort to a lot of lamps, candles, or flashlights. All but the latter generate heat, bad!, and the flashlights use up batteries quickly enough when there are none in the state!

    I can say that I suffered no real ill effects but of course I had plenty of other things to keep me miserable at the same time. The sweltering heat, the fun of cooking without power, cleaning up the mess with chainsaws (Ok that one was kinda fun.), cold showers. But I did miss it.

    Now the 2nd time was a little more rough. I lost my DSL as the storm 1st hit but still had dial-up and power. I was hopeful. Well that got dashed pretty quickly as the power soon went out again and into darkness and heat I plunged. I had changed up my backup Palm that I use for writing on the road but had forgotten to install the keyboard driver for it, doh! My main Palm was only 1/2 charged and it died about day 2. Back to reading by candle light!

    I guess my example is a bad one because there were so many other variables involved but I can say that as someone who uses the inet probably way too much that I suffered no real ill effects. I used the time to do some writing the old fashioned way with paper and reading a bunch. I also listened to the radio a lot and knowing that everyone down here was pretty much in the same boat helped.

    Oh, and btw as Jeanne is likely headed our way right now I have both Palm's charged up and ready to go!
  • by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <> on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:50AM (#10338985) Homepage
    If you cannot function without internet access for awhile, you really need to get some balance in your life. Ride a bike, go for a hike, grab lunch with friends, clean your house, cook your own dinner, etc.

    You should be able to lose one of your favorite activities and not go insane. If so, you have a problem, no matter what the activity.

    Personally, I recommend mountain biking for a daily outlet. Skydiving is a cool way to make a lot of friends too.

  • by oneiron ( 716313 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:29AM (#10339260)
    When I was 17-19 or so I had a few hardware mishaps that cut off my access to the internet for a period of about a month each time... Rather than feeling withdrawals, I actually felt a feeling of relief during that time. I've come to view my computer as a life-sucking beast that I am uncontrollably drawn to. When I'm given a break from it, it makes me very happy.
  • by LilMikey ( 615759 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @09:36AM (#10339305) Homepage
    maybe it's the withdrawl of vast amounts of pornography they're reacting to.
  • Bullcrap. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:34AM (#10339826) Journal
    The reason for the rapid collapse of their universe is - say the researchers - because 'Internet users feel confident, secure and empowered.'

    Shenanigans. It's simply because they're disconnected from their friends, information, and entertainment. The same thing would happen if, before the prevalence of the Internet, you told people they couldn't use the phone, watch TV, or read a newspaper for 2 weeks.

    I hope they didn't pay these "researchers" any of my money.
  • by peacefinder ( 469349 ) * <> on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:38AM (#10339859) Journal
    The reason for the rapid collapse of their universe is - say the researchers - because 'internet users feel confident, secure and empowered.'

    When they're on it, so do people using meth.
  • by bahwi ( 43111 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:53AM (#10339987)
    It's not really just another luxury anymore. A lot of people have the same withdrawl when fast food is taken away for two weeks(not to mention chemical withdrawl!). If telephone and IM/Email are taken away. If the stove was taken away. The internet's not new anymore. It's a means of communications, it's a mean of information retrieval. It's not just an extra for a lot of people anymore. I know a lot of people will say Internet is not Human Contact, but it isn't a computer on the other end(well, most of the time []). It isn't this exclusive thing only a few geeks know about anymore.

    It's not necessairily and addiction, although lots of people have an addiction, but it is a necessity. Ask me what movies are playing and I'm on Yahoo in about a second. If not that, then Movie Phone. I've never, in my life, used the Newspaper to look up movies. It's just a new things, and the way the tide is going.
  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:30AM (#10340316) Journal
    ".... first p0st.... must..1stp0st... gnaa... grits... portman... linux, tux, debian, GEN-2! my use flags.... 03 vs. 0s.... no use 02 st00pid n00b... fux0r bush... stfu fux0r kerrie... perl good... no perl BAD FIRE BAD!!11..."

    Doctor: "Timmy, you've been offline for 2 days and 3 hours. How do you feel?

    ".... omfg 14 new IE h0les by now... must linux troll..."

  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:35AM (#10340356) Homepage
    I remember this same type of study being reported when I was a kid (in the 1960s) only the culprit was Television. No doubt there was one for Radio as well, and possibly Telephones. Yawn. My whole family uses the Internet extensively, and although we go camping almost every summer and to Hawaii about every 2 years for stretches of 3 weeks at a time nobody has ever shown any deprivation symptoms. It all depends on your personality I guess. Or maybe it depends on whether some geeky psychologist is asking you a bunch of questions and making you feel important? Time to pop open an ice-cold can of Heisenberg.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:25PM (#10340834) Homepage Journal
    My daily work life is tied to the internet, so are my 1000+ e-mails aday i get at home.

    No internet for 2 weeks would be no income ( or vacation, whatever that is ) and a overfull in-box..

    While i would freak for not being online, its not due to addiction, its due to reality...
  • No shit, sherlock. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syukton ( 256348 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:28PM (#10340853)
    Take away any major aspect of somebody's day to day activities and they'll suffer discomfort and anxiety. If an every-day commuter has his car taken away for two weeks, he can take the bus and still get where he needs to go, but it takes four times as long and is an utter waste of his time, which is frustrating. It's frustrating to go from being able to instantly satisfy one's curiosities on the internet to being unable to do so. It's frustrating to a runner when he gets into a car accident and is paralyzed from the waist down. It's frustrating to an (both professional and hobby) opera singer to get strep throat and be unable to sing for two weeks.

    On the internet, you can find any piece of news or information INSTANTLY, whereas otherwise you have to go to the library, find the book it's in via the card catalog, hope that it isn't checked out, and then look up the information. It's frustrating to be confined to this method of information access, it feels very restrictive.

    When it boils down, it's about freedom. Freedom to satisfy our desires and curiosities without inhibition or restriction. The information available on the internet is often unavailable anywhere else, and it is often made available FOR FREE.

    - Slashdot covers news that will not end up in my local newspaper. I don't have to spend a dime to get that news either, it's FREE. (admittedly slashdot sells subscriptions, but they aren't required in order to read the news. Ever see a newspaper with no advertisements?)
    - When I hit up wikipedia because I want to read about antimatter, it's FREE. (admittedly they do ask for donations, but it isn't required. You are FREE to make donations as you see fit)
    - I don't have to concern myself with long distance charges so I can call my aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh (I'm in Seattle), because I can drop them an email with a voice attachment wishing them a happy anniversary, and IT IS FREE!
    - Or I can make a VOIP call FOR FREE and talk to friends and family for as long as I want.
    - When I want to see how my stocks are doing, I don't have to call my broker, wait on hold for 20 minutes, get told he's out at lunch and do I want to be transferred to his voicemail; all I have to do is go to yahoo's finance pages and enter the ticker symbol, and I will get a significantly greater amount of information than just the high and low of the day as my broker would tell me on the telephone--FOR FREE!

    And so forth. It's about freedom, it's about empowerment. If you asked everyone to ditch their cars and go back to horses and carriages they'd laugh you out of the building. The internet brings a better way of life to us just as other improvements in technology have. The difference between the internet and other liberating technologies is that the internet empowers us on many levels instead of just one level; a coffee machine only makes coffee, a car is only useful for transporting yourself and your belongings, but the internet is a communications platform, a meeting place, a network of knowledge, a network of storage, a historical reference, and the list goes on. Taking away the internet today is the rough equivalent of saying the following 50 years ago: You may no longer write letters. You may no longer talk on the telephone. You may no longer ask questions of anybody you cannot meet face to face. You cannot seek knowledge without being instructed by a teacher.
  • by MoonRug ( 324248 ) on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:27PM (#10341768)
    Yahoo of all companies saying "See? You can't live without the internet." This is like all the Microsoft "studies" saying Windows TCO is lower than Linux.
  • by dirvish ( 574948 ) <> on Friday September 24, 2004 @07:33PM (#10345323) Homepage Journal
    That's BS. I could quit anytime...I swear.

"Plastic gun. Ingenious. More coffee, please." -- The Phantom comics