Researchers at the University of Maryland recently asked 200 students to leave their social media, news, and Internet connections behind for a full day, and what resulted were feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and inability to function — similar to those found in alcohol and drug related withdrawals. Is the Internet a drug? Possibly. Internet addiction is not a new idea. It's been said that kids are more susceptible to becoming hooked, prompting Internet rehab centers to pop up all over Asia. One student in the Maryland study proclaimed that she felt totally out of the loop with what was going on in her social circle after ditching her media outlets: "Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort. When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life."
I admit that during waking hours I'm constantly checking up on my social media accounts, RSS feeds, and email, however, I don't feel these feelings of loss and disconnect when I take a vacation from the Internet. In fact, I look forward to unplugging. How about you — do you feel anxious or disconnected if you go too long without texts, IMs, email, or news?