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The Internet

Americans Giving Up Social Life for the Web 299

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 Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:25AM (#20677759) Journal
    i find it very relaxing to "unplug" for a while. when i go on vacation there are usually wifi services available, i don't use them even if i do bring my laptop, it distracts from the whole "vacation" part of going on vacation. if i wanted to spend the day reading news and chatting with friends i would save a few hundred bucks and stay HOME to do it.
  • Media for the Masses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by badinsults ( 1152183 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:33AM (#20677803) Homepage

    I don't think this should surprise anyone. People feel dependent on mass entertainment and have a difficult time thinking what it would be like without it. It is almost like an addiction. I must admit I feel the same way most of the time. One should also note that people still connect to other people on the internet through messenger services and sites like Facebook, so it is perhaps better than other forms of media like TV or video games.

    However, it is relatively easy to break from the cycle. If people force themselves away from their computers and cell phones, it is incredibly easy to get back into social life. I find that times when I visit my family or when I go out hiking/camping, there is no empty void when I am away from technology. People (including myself) stop socializing because it is easier to spend time alone in front of a computer than to entertain others. It becomes surprisingly easy to find ways to socialize when you are bored.

  • Depends... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:34AM (#20677813) Homepage
    It's funny. I don't mind being without net access at our summer cottage, for example. But if my connection is down at home I quickly get frustrated.

    Then again, I need net access for most everyday tasks these days: Banking, bus schedules, general communication, (and soon IPTV service). Network access is quickly becoming like electricity, or running water.

    Spending sleepless nights playing WoW on the other hand, is a whole 'nother ballgame.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:45AM (#20677881)
    I do not know about anybody else, but I am a computer professional and I depend on the Web for my living. I spend a lot of time there. BUT... I would be very hard-pressed to think of any instance where I intentionally gave up significant time with people who I really considered friends for the web. Except when I was working, which is another matter entirely. And if we want to be honest, since I work from home, I would not give up sex for the Web, even when I was working! I have not been getting enough breaks anyway... why would I object?

    I think this is another example of a "survey" that found exactly what it wanted to find, and damn the reality...
  • Didn't RTFA but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xx01dk ( 191137 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @02:54AM (#20677925)
    ...it would seem that I am in the minority, considering that due to my lack of friends and/or social acquaintances that I actually spend more time online than I normally would. The wife and I left a close-knit Navy community when we ended our enlistments, and moved to Silicon Valley to take new jobs. Now our closest friends have moved back to the East coast and we both work in a slightly hostile environment where everyone is at least 10 years our senior, or they have kids, or they are just plain unsociable.

    So I find that I increasingly spend more time online than I normally would because all of the people I am now remotely close to are on Teamspeak, Ventrillo, various forums, and (ugh) Myspace. Oh, how I wish it were the other way around, but until we have enough money saved up to get the hell out of here and move to someplace far less materialistic and divisive across social boundaries it looks like we are stuck. At least I don't have to worry about getting laid but then again it's harder and harder to get in the mood when you're drowning in depression.
  • Damned intellectuals (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vga_init ( 589198 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:02AM (#20677969) Journal

    "An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex." -Aldous Huxley

    Apparently people are smarter than I thought. Seriously, God forbid anyone chooses to forgo sex or social interaction leading to sex for something they find more interesting. Say, information and knowledge...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:22AM (#20678071)
    Could be true, probably is in fact, but strangely I'm still having the same amount of sex now that I don't watch porn as I was when I was watching porn all the time. Hazard a guess as to what the amount is.
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:24AM (#20678079)
    I did my entire undergraduate degree without a net connection in my room. In the UK not all universities have such services as interwebs for students.

    It was of course available in labs.

    Not having internet access meant I spent hundreds of pounds on textbooks, and spent almost every night in my room studying and coding without the distraction of firefox. An interesting side effect of this (seems to be, anyway) is that I differ from my peers in using textbooks first to solve problems, and resorting to the net if I must. I know its unusual because almost everyone I meet, except for one, thinks I'm odd for doing it, and that I will only learn 'old stuff'.

    I question this though. The internet is valuable, but it is not, in spite of what we are so often told, the font of all knowledge. There's still a lot to be gained from books and just talking to other techies over a coffee.
  • Re:Sample bias (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @03:49AM (#20678173)
    14/f/cali here
  • by SL Baur ( 19540 ) <steve@xemacs.org> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @04:47AM (#20678405) Homepage Journal
    Maybe not you in particular, but a single exception does not disprove a general rule.

    About the time I was moving to Tokyo from another part of Japan, there was a(n in) famous poll posted that indicated that salarymen and their wives who lived in metro Tokyo spent less than 5 minutes on average per day talking to each other. I spent enough time talking to people that I took the poll seriously.

    I suspect this survey isn't that much different.

    You're also making a big mistake if you think they are referring to something occurring only in the US.
  • by StarvingSE ( 875139 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:06AM (#20678855)
    I regularly have days that I either don't answer the cell phone. I also don't drop everything I am currently doing every time the cell phone rings. However, I now have the reputation of "never answering my cell phone." I am the geek amongst my friends, yet I also get made fun of for my attempts to not be ruled by my devices.

    I don't think "true blue" geeks are the only, or even the biggest offenders, of sacrificing social life for tech... more often than not I'm sitting at the bar and I'll be the only one not texting.

    I also do the most things outdoors - I do lot's of backpacking/camping/cycling yet it's like pulling teeth trying to get my "non-geek" friends to join me in these activities.
  • Dont blame the job (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sentri ( 910293 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:00AM (#20679455) Homepage
    This is one of the big problems with most people. Don't take this as offensive it is not your fault at all, it is the fault of the media conglomerates and the capitalist ethic worldwide.

    Your situation, in which you have a "real job", is probably more complicated than just that, even those people with real jobs can just up and walk away provided they have certain other obligations they haven't undertaken. Let us take a look at two potential life paths.

    High-School, University and a part time job, "real job" to pay off student loans, car loan (because you need a nice new car to go with your job), credit card, credit card bills after you have bought that plasma TV (on special!!!), house loan with payments that you will have for the next 50 years.

    With this particular plan you are never out from under debt or other long term commitments, you can't take 6 months off because that would mean missing credit card payments, car payments and house payments. This is the average Joe choice; this is the bane of smart people everywhere who haven't got a grasp on money. They start this job out of University (55k a year! wow, that's so much money!) then they start spending, they earn a little more, they spend a little more, they never clear their debts. This person, these people in fact, are everywhere

    High-School, University, 6 Months overseas on a working holiday, real job, paying off student loans and credit card from trip overseas, rent a property, don't buy too much junk, travel once a year till you are ready to give up your real job for a few months to do some real travelling or just settle down and get that new car (no one really cares if you have been driving that rust bucket since you were 17) the house and settle into the life everyone else is already stuck in if you want to.

    Those student loans alone will be ok for you to travel with hanging over your head so long as you don't add a credit card and the rest to them. I am in the "Real job" stage of this plan, I spent 6 months working in Canada, I am about to go on a few weeks backpacking trip through SE Asia. When I get tired of this job, I will drive my rust bucket home to the place I rent and pack all my stuff up, drive it to my parents house and leave it under a tarp till I get back from wherever I end up.

    These are choices you can make, they aren't the only choice, but they are always a choice. Buying a home ties you to it for a long time, a credit card debt is something you can't escape. I'm not preaching that my way is the only way, or that it is the way for you. I am just making the point that a "real job" isn't what is stopping you from jetting off for 6 months, it's your personal life-cruft that is doing it.

    (I live in Australia where tertiary education debt is all government based and repayable on a "when you earn enough" basis, ymmv in US. Also, my real job is as a C# Developer)
  • by orthancstone ( 665890 ) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @11:09AM (#20681171)
    I tend to think the reason for your observations is that geeks are used to this life. We've been surfing the web since before most people had a good reason to own a personal computer; we're not over impressed with our ability to send an IM to a buddy while sitting in a dark movie theater.

    From my experience, a lot of the people who spend more time sending text messages or hanging out on social networks are people that were perfectly social before it was all taken online. With the addition tech out there, they think that they are expanding on their social capabilities. Problem is, they are really NOT doing that and, in some cases, they are being more anti-social.

    This is going to come full circle some day. Eventually people are going to realize that all the great tech they've relied on to do this cool crap was actually only stymieing their social lives. I mean, really, if you are sending 50 text messages to someone, you either fail to grasp that there is an easier way (talk to the person) or you are doing it at a time when you shouldn't be anyway (in which case you'll eventually be punished). I await the days when a cell phone becomes a phone again rather than a device for doing everything except communicating when necessary.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson