A new study has revealed that travellers have become so reliant on being connected to the Internet 24/7 that we’re suffering increased stress and anxiety if we lose that connection when travelling. According to new research published in the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology, our reliance on the Internet can lead to “web-dependence anxiety”.
This news might not come as a big surprise; many of us depend on being connected on holidays for basic functionality – like booking hotels and mapping directions – or for ‘gramming what we see and Facebook chatting with those back home. And for younger people (or those of us who are more technologically literate), we tend to feel greater separation anxiety, which can significantly increase without reliable or fast access to the Internet.
The study suggests that this isn’t just a surface issue – it also gives us a deeper look at the psychology surrounding our relationship with technology. The researchers believe these relationships relate to attachment theory, wherein people feel safe by seeking closeness to another person – or in this case, our smart devices. Think about it: when was the last time you let your smart phone out of your sight? Or felt fine with accidentally leaving it at home?
This news follows on from a UK survey that found that 65 percent of holidaymakers said they couldn’t bear to go more than seven minutes without logging into their hotel’s Wi-Fi, and about a quarter of people surveyed said they’d refuse to stay at a place if they didn’t have free internet.
The study also found that 45 percent of holidaymakers rank free hotel Wi-Fi as more important than having a room with a view, with some even venturing to say they would feel bored and lonely without an internet connection. Around one in ten hotel guests revealed they would panic if they didn’t have access to free Wi-Fi during their hotel stay.
Interestingly, though, as our dependence on smart phones rises, a smaller grass roots movement is growing stronger. They’re called unplugged holidays, or digital detoxes. Festivals, summer camps and getaways across the world are deciding to ditch the devices and focus instead on experiences, desires and humans. While it might not be for everyone, unplugged holidays can help you experience what travel is all about – escaping.
(h/t Lonely Planet)