Technology Is The New Smoking

We’ve all been there; You’re at an outing or a dinner table with friends but itching to check your email or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Google+ or Yammer or what ever digital hit of serotonin you prefer. Have you ever “gone to the bathroom” in order to check email or come up with a socially appropriate excuse to pull out your smartphone just so you can check your @ replies on Twitter?

Remember when the critical mass of smokers used to leave the table or meeting in groups to go indulge their habit? I straight up open my laptop at bars and parties, and then feel more guilty about that than drinking.

A new British study released today backs up what we otherwise know intuitively, that Internet usage is increasingly becoming an addiction. Out of 1000 people surveyed after being cut off from the Internet for 24 hours, 53% reported feeling “upset” about being deprived of online access and 40% said that they felt lonely after not being able to connect to the Internet. Participants described the digital detox akin to quitting drinking or smoking and one even said it was like having his hand chopped off (!).

This British survey comes after a University of Maryland study in April that came to pretty much the same conclusion — With one student saying that she was “itching like a crackhead” after abstaining from any form of media for 24 hours. Geez.

Add this insight to the yet un-proven concerns that smartphone usage leads to Cancer and the smoking analogy becomes more and more apt (see image left). But for the moment Googling the name of a movie you can’t remember is hands down a lot healthier than smoking an actual cigarette, at least physically. For the moment.