When 200 University of Maryland students were asked to blog about their experience of giving up social media outlets for 24 hours, their reactions, ranging from misery to anxiety and frustration, were similar to drug addicts’ withdrawal symptoms, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
One student reported that the normal routine of “texting and sending instant messages” provided a “constant feeling of comfort” without which the student felt “quite alone and excluded from my life.”
The study results showed a high level of addiction to all types of media, said study director Susan B Moeller, adding that what students found most difficult was “losing their personal connections,” since “going without media meant, in their world, going without their friends and family.”
Although the research methods were “rock solid,” the comparison to drug addiction is used quite loosely, said Zack Whittaker, a blogger for ZDNet, who referred to the time spent on Facebook, etc. as “part of the natural progression of tertiary, noncompulsory education socialization.”
Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.