Concept of the Day: Disconnect Anxiety

Jimmy and Grandad go to find the snow (or lack of it)Sometimes I feel I’m turning into a grumpy old man before my time and all that I am doing is raising the ills of IT. Unfortunately today is no exception.

Today’s ill is disconnect anxiety:

Disconnect Anxiety refers to various feelings of disorientation and nervousness experienced when a person is deprived of Internet or wireless access for a period of time.

If you are reading this blog you have probably experienced this anxiety and you are not alone. The Solutions Research Group has done some research in the US and the numbers are quite startling:

Overall, our research finds that 27% of the population exhibit significantly elevated levels of anxiety when disconnected. In terms of profile, 41% of this group are 12-24, 50% are 25-49 and 9% are over the age of 50.

A secondary group of 41% exhibit above-average levels of anxiety occasionally, depending on the situation.

The balance, 32% are below average in their anxiety response when unable to use their cell phones or the Internet. This group is disproportionately older than average (i.e., majority being 50+).

Or to put it graphically:

They went on to do research to try and understand why and how the anxiety was manifest. It’s a good report and links in nicely with a number of the things I’ve said previously about ADT and the machines taking over.

Perhaps that is why laptop free meetings are such tense affairs these days – everyone is experiencing disconnect anxiety.

Personally, I’m only occasionally anxious about being disconnected.

The summary of the report is here (pdf).

Hat tip to Endgadget.

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