Online addicts can’t imagine life without a Net connection

By Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

More than 137 million Americans spend at least part of their day online, and when it is unavailable, many suffer withdrawal much as they would if they had to go without coffee or cigarettes. They have come to rely on the Web to manage increasingly hectic personal lives, and can’t imagine life without it.

“The Internet really is one of the primary tools that people use to balance work and personal life,” said researcher Ben Jacobson, whose Evanston, Ill.-based firm Conifer Research recently conducted a study to gauge what happens when ordinary Americans are forced to stay off line.

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