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Faster Forward
Posted at 02:43 PM ET, 04/07/2011

How addicted are you to your gadgets?

With the government shutdown looming, some government workers are getting antsy. But it’s not just the possibility of being out of work that’s got their stomachs in knots, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

It’s the thought of having to shut off their BlackBerrys.

Many workers’ phones are paid for by the U.S. government, so if the government shuts down, so will their gadgets. That could be particularly hard for younger staffers who don’t know a Washington sans BlackBerry.

A recent study from the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media and the Public Agenda backs up that idea. The study asked college students around the world to try to give up media for 24 hours, including phones, computers, music and television. The survey included college students in Lebanon, Uganda, Britain, Argentina, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Slovakia and the U.S.

Across the board and regardless of a country’s relative affluence, students reported “craving” media and feeling anxiety and depression.

Many students said that being without their phones made them feel very lonely. Others reported feeling phantom vibrations from absent cellphones.

In fact, a clear majority of students in the study couldn’t even complete their task. (Unsurprisngly, part of the reason many had to use media was that their daily work absolutely required it.)

“My anxiety took over me and I caved in,” said one participant from the U.S. Another study participant from Slovakia said, “I hope that I never again have such a day in my life.”

Not all the students in the study hated the experience.

“Ultimately,it proved rather liberating and peaceful to simply lead a life with no intervention from any media,” said one participant from Britain.

Have you ever tried to go unplugged? Do you think you’d go crazy or find some needed peace?

Related stories:

Nonessential and out of touch, could government workers cope with losing their PDAs?

Story Lab: Unplugged

By  |  02:43 PM ET, 04/07/2011

Tags:  Gadgets, Mobile, Digital Culture

 
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