Cutting off social interactions makes students feel like they have fewer social interactions

Students face withdrawal, distress when cut off from Internet
[Via Ars Technica]

University students faced with a sudden Internet and media blackout begin to feel withdrawal symptoms after 24 hours, according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda. The study followed the reactions of 1,000 students around the globe after they were asked to abstain from all forms of media for a day, leading the researchers to believe that Internet addiction is a real phenomenon, even if there’s debate about it as a clinical diagnosis.

Students from 10 countries—including the US, Mexico, China, Argentina, the UK—all reported distress, isolation, confusion, boredom, and a feeling of addiction when they had to go 24 hours without any form of media, including Internet, music, games, news shows, and their cell phones. However, the numbers were not all equal—students from the US and China (mainland and Hong Kong) showed the highest percentages of feeling addicted, at 23 and 22 percent respectively.


Yep, that is right. If you cut off someone’s ability to connect to other human beings, they feel anxious that their social interactions with other human beings are cut off. Somehow this becomes addiction.

Except that the ones who feel ‘addicted’ are a minority. 77% do not feel addicted yet the lede makes it sound like all of them do. And half the students that had to withdraw had to do it because school or work required it. In fact, almost as many students in the US felt there were benefits from unplugging as felt addicted.

This seems really stupid. It’s like putting someone in solitary and saying that they are addicted to human interaction. The fact that someone wants a richer level of social interaction than they are given makes them addicted?

Let’s ask people not to breathe and see i=how many are ‘addicted’ to air.

Humans are social animals who need social interactions. Why is anyone surprised that reducing those interactions makes some people feel bad?

I bet the same thing could have been said about getting cut off from all but face-to-face interactions for anyone. Sounds like a way to get people to spend lots of money at rehab for social addiction.