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Discomgooglation is a recently coined term to describe symptoms noted by British scientists when people were deprived of ability to get their Internet “fix.” One research study, lead by psychologist Dr. David Lewis, showed that many people developed high levels of stress when they were not allowed to use the Internet, and that stress level was actually medically measurable by evaluating heart rate, blood pressure, and brain waves.
The term discomgooglation is a combination of the words discombobulate and Google®, a popular search engine site. Dr. Lewis’ study and polls of Britons thereafter found just less than half admitted to feeling very stressed out when they couldn’t get on the net. Other data from these polls found that nearly half of those polled rated Internet use as more important than religion.
Though the sample size of studies and polls are still small, discomgooglation seems to describe what others would term as Internet addiction. Dr. Lewis’ study though suggested that it isn’t merely addiction but also dependence on the uses of the Internet. We may need it for jobs, contact with other professionals, to alert kids of changes in the schedule or for a variety of reasons. Dr. Lewis’ work showed that about a quarter of Britons really couldn’t conduct normal activities without it due to its functionality and numerous uses.
That people suffering from discomgooglation would have symptoms like stress if they couldn’t get to the Internet doesn't necessarily mean they are addicted. In fact, the whole issue of Internet addiction hasn’t been adequately resolved. Stress felt might be analogous to failing to have access to a telephone in pre-Internet days, especially if that telephone was vital for working or getting information.
Still, that psychologists are now labeling the symptoms of discomgooglation and noting the high number of people who seem to suffer from the condition is an interesting fact. If the Internet is that important, what would occur in a population that suddenly didn’t have access to it? Would there suddenly be a backlash?
In an emergency like a natural disaster, would those suffering from discomgooglation become violent or be less careful due to high stress levels? Just how long would it take to recover from discomgooglation? It may be valuable to consider this new syndrome, and other evidence of Internet addiction, as more people grow dependent on the Internet.
I only suffer from "discomgooglation" when there is no internet access and I am either bored or want to look something up. I don't get anxious about having no internet access when on vacation, despite the fact that I spend my entire day in front of the computer and wander away to surf at the drop of a hat.
I suspect that in a natural disaster, we would all be occupied with whatever was happening, and the internet would not be the first thing on our minds.