Internet-obsessed Aussies at 'infostress' risk

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Melbourne, March 24 (ANI): Australian's habit of constantly spending time online could lead to "infostress" resulting in shorter attention spans and less sleep time, experts have cautioned.

Globally, Australia figures in the list of the top 20 most well-connected Internet using countries, and stands among the top 10 when it comes to the use of social-networking sites.

However, this Internet obsession can be dangerous and experts stress on the necessity of disconnecting the Internet occasionally.

The Nielsen 2010 Internet and Technology Report clearly shows that the real life of Australians has taken a backseat to their virtual life.

It revealed that Twitter's Aussie users surged 400 per cent last year, three quarters of the country's internet users now visit Facebook and over 9.8 million use social media sites.

"The time Aussies spend on social-networking sites has just been huge," News.com.au quoted report author and Nielsen Online research director Melanie Ingrey, as saying.

She added: "Figures from another study show Australians are spending the most time on sites such as Facebook and across the social media category, compared with the US, UK and other western European countries."

Another Nielsen survey found Australians spend nearly two working days (17.6 hours) online each week, with some younger users sitting over the net for up to 22 hours a week.

The increased web use is coupled with emails, instant messages, text messages and phone calls, and experts fear it is creating a new type of stress.

According to RMIT information technology lecturer John Lenarcic, many Australians show signs of obsessive-compulsive behaviour when it comes to Internet use. Some of these signs are: frequently checking email, spending long periods online and accessing the internet even when away from computers.

He added: "The first iteration of the internet was just published information so people looked things up and read them. But now, because of social networking, you're expected to talk to people and share things like photos and videos."

Queensland University of Technology business senior lecturer Dr Neville Meyers also blames smartphones and portable computers for information overload.

He said: "The mere fact you've got a laptop or a smartphone with you means you're taking information on the run.

"Whether you have time to process it adequately is another thing.

"In a recent survey on mobility, 15 per cent of participants told us that even on holidays they felt like their mobile phone might ring and it could be a colleague trying to track them down."

He added: "You can Facebook yourself to utter fatigue." (ANI)

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