Recently unemployed men in the UK are spending up to 15 hours-a-day accessing the Internet to help cope with losing face-to-face contact with friends and work colleagues, according to new research. ‘The Economy and Techno Addiction’ study charts the increasing use of the Internet by both unemployed and employed men and women.
It’s findings show:
• 50% of unemployed men report a compulsive need to surf the web, while also reporting feelings of anger and depression when denied online access
• Unemployed men are increasingly using the Internet for therapy and escapism
• Excessive use of the Internet can lead to chronic ‘techno addiction’
• An increasing number of unemployed men spend up to 15 hours-a-day online, often at the expense of relationships with friends and family.
Nada Kakabadse, lead researcher, comments: “Techno Addiction is a compulsive disorder where an individual believes the virtual world somehow replaces the status they had in their previous work roles. They obsessively substitute real social contact with online interaction because they have less money, less social status and lack self-confidence.
“Men suffering Techno Addiction are putting themselves at risk both mentally and physically through poor eating, lack of exercise, bad posture and isolation.
“We recommend IT manufacturers consider putting health warnings on devices about the dangers of over-use.”
Comments from those surveyed include:
• “When I was working, I used my Blackberry and had access to colleagues and friends. Now, all I have is my lap-top. That keeps me sane.”
• “I lost my job and my friends. If we met they would talk about their day in the office. What could I say about my day? Conversations only last a few minutes.”
• “Losing track of time while connected to other people in the same situation helps me cope with my predicament.”