Study Concludes Kids are Sad and Lonely without Internet Access

Paul Lilly

You don't need a study to tell you that toddlers would rather eat ice cream than asparagus, but apparently one was needed to determine the level of Internet addiction among British children and teens in this day and age of ubiquitous online connections. The 'Digital Futures' project did just that and pinged 1,000 youngsters living in the U.K. between the ages of 8 and 16 about their feelings towards the Internet. Not surprisingly, they've grown quite fond of it.

The study's results, posted in the U.K.'s The Telegraph , show that 49 percent of British children 12 years old or younger would feel "sad" without access to the Web, and 20 percent would feel "lonely." Teenagers are even more attached to cyberspace. Without the Internet, 60 percent of kids between 12 and 16 years old said they would be sad and 48 percent would be loney.

"The fact that children have a strong emotional attachment to the Internet is often regarded as a negative thing but in fact it is perfectly natural for a generation whose social life is largely online," said Paul Hudson, chief executive of Intersperience, the research firm that carried out the poll. "It’s equivalent to taking a phone away from older people, they’d feel sad and lonely too."

A somewhat encouraging statistic is that 65 percent of British kids are using the Internet for homework.

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