A survey on behalf of 118118 by YouGov which questioned 2,100 Britons in easy July 2008 suggests that 44% of us admit to rising stress levels when unable to go online. A new word has arisen to describe this situation, discomgoogolation, which is based on discombobulate which means to confuse or frustrate.
Psychologist Dr David Lewis, has apparently done some research into the area observing heart rates and brainwave activity, which all indicate stress levels rise once Internet access is lost. More on the survey can be read over at uk.reuters.com.
In cases where the lack of Internet access is due to a broadband fault, a rise in stress levels may be the result of not just losing access to information at our fingertips, or worries of not being able to check our bank accounts but also the hassles many people go through when trying to get a fault fixed via their broadband provider. How many times can someone who can patently see the DSL access light on their ADSL hardware is showing no ADSL connection put up with being told to clear their computers cookies or browser cache?
Somewhat worrying information in the survey is that over half of those surveyed use web between one and four hours a day, and some 19% spent more time online than with their family. Whether this actually reflects a reduction of interaction between family members is hard to judge, as TV viewing which is the other main evening activity can often result in little or no interaction between people. Alternatively where people used to sneak off down the pub for a few hours they now go and hide in the spare room for a few hours each evening.