Unemployed men in UK spend up to 15 hours a day online – study

4 Jul 2012

Research from ‘The Economy and Techno Addiction’ study charted the increasing use of the internet by unemployed people in the UK, finding that men spend hours online as a form of therapy and escapism.

In the study, 50pc of unemployed men said they had a compulsive need to browse the web, feeling angry and depressed if denied access.

An increasing number of these men are spending up to 15 hours a day online, often at the expense of their relationships with friends and family.

Quite a bit of research goes on into this new wave of internet addiction, and psychologists have even developed a Facebook addiction test. Excessive use among unemployed people may stem from the need to fill a void.

“When I was working, I used my BlackBerry and had access to colleagues and friends. Now, all I have is my laptop. That keeps me sane,” said one participant in the study.

IT manufacturers should warn against techno addiction

“Techno addiction is a compulsive disorder where an individual believes the virtual world somehow replaces the status they had in their previous work roles,” said Nada Kakabadse, professor in management and business research at the University of Northampton and lead researcher of the study. “They obsessively substitute real social contact with online interaction because they have less money, less social status and lack self-confidence.”

This ‘techno addiction’ is presenting health risks, whereby some men aren’t getting the right nutrition, aren’t exercising, are developing bad posture and are becoming more isolated.

“We recommend IT manufacturers consider putting health warnings on devices about the dangers of over-use,” said Kakabadse.

Man on laptop image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.