American students are addicted to social media like Facebook, Twitter or chat sites. After only a day without these sites, students show the same symptoms drug addicts in rehab show.

Researchers of the University of Maryland monitored 200 students and had them abstain from the use of Internet, cell phones, computers and other digital media. After 24 hours the students described the same feelings drug addicts or alcoholics have while abstaining: A sense of being more withdrawn, stressed and nervous. They experienced an irresistable urge to go back online again.

The students wrote about their experiences after the 24 hours on a special weblog. One wrote: “I go to a school at which I am surrounded with thousands of fellow students. Yet the fact that I couldn´t communicate with others through the internet or by phone was almost unbearable.”

Another student wrote: “I am obviously addicted and this dependency is sickening.” According to the coordinator of the research, Susan Moeller, most students felt that they could not be in touch with relatives and friends. “The lives of students are so connected and linked up via the digital media; stopping the use of them means an end to their social lives”, says Moeller. (HOP)