Is Wifi the New Cigarette? (Infographic)

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Wifi, it’s everywhere. In fact, last year more than 60% of homes in the U.S. had Wifi access. That’s the good news. The downside is this increase in connectivity brings with it threats like Internet addiction and health hazards.

At Iconic Displays, we wanted to learn more about Wifi and how the mass push for connectivity may be affecting our lives. So we did some digging and put together this infographic called “Wifi is the New Cigarette.” If you like it, please share it with others. You also can add the infographic on your website using the HTML code below. We ask that you credit us, Iconic Displays the leader in discount trade show display solutions as the source.

wifi is the new cigarette


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WiFi is the New Cigarette

By 2012, 61% of American homes had access to WiFi. Studies are showing that Internet access is addictive and WiFi may be causing harm to our health. How is connectivity affecting the way we live?

Addicted to wifi

  • According to a survey by Broadcom:
    • 30% of people claim they cannot go without WiFi access for more than an hour
    • 60% of people cant go without WiFi access for more than a day
    • 39% say they would give up coffee for WiFi access
    • 43% said they would go without chocolate for WiFi
    • 50% would give up Facebook for a month, for a month of WiFi
  • Wakefield Research survey:
    • 75% of Americans said that a week without WiFi would leave them grumpier than a week without coffee
    • 44% of Americans said it would be difficult to stay in touch with family members without WiFi
    • Callout: WiFi is increasingly becoming available on airlines in the US
      • More than 1,200 planes are expected to offer in-flight connections by the end of 2013
  • Internet Addiction can include:
    • Cyber-Relationship Addiction – addiction to social networking, texting, and instant messaging that makes virtual, online friends more important than real life relationships
    • Net Compulsions –compulsive online gaming, gambling, stock trading, or online shopping that often cause financial or career problems
    • Information Overload – compulsive web surfing that lowers work productivity and social interaction
  • I can stop any time I want:
    • Brain scans of those with Internet Addiction Disorder show damage to the fibres that connect emotional processing, attention and decision making
      • These findings are consistent with those found in the brain scans of alcoholics and cocaine addicts
    • Callout: A “phantom vibration” is a cellphone vibration heard or felt that didn’t really happen. The brain is so desperate for a message that it imagines receiving one

Health hazards

  • WiFi systems emit electromagnetic frequencies (EMF)
    • Some people are sensitive to these signals
    • An estimated 3-8% of populations in developed countries experience serious symptoms of electrohypersensitivity
    • 35% experience mild symptoms of electrohypersensitivity
    • EMF exposure has been linked to:
      • cancer
      • concentration problems
      • ADD
      • migraines
      • insomnia
      • arrhythmia
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • back pain
    • You dont have to use WiFi to be affected by it
      • For those who have Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, walking into a coffee shop with WiFi can trigger headache, fatigue, nausea, burning, itching skin and muscle aches
      • Now, WiFi is standard in:
        • Cafes
        • Hotels
        • Conventions centers
        • Universities
        • Office buildings
        • Restaurants
        • Libraries
        • Government buildings
        • Churches
        • Newer city buses
    • Study (at Trent University) has shown that a cordless phone base, which emits EMF, placed 2 feet from your head and plugged in for 3 minutes, can significantly disrupt your heart rhythm
      • This can lead to increases in heart rate, arrhythmias and other heart problems
    • There is no conclusive evidence that EMF has major harmful effects
      • World Health Organization: The link isnt strong enough to be considered causal but is sufficiently strong to remain a concern.
  • Internet addiction is widespread in many Asian nations
    • In February, 2012, Chen Jung-yu died in a New Taipei City Internet cafe
      • Staff members discovered his body when they came to tell him that his 23-hour gaming pass had expired
        • He had died 10 hours before
        • When police arrived, other gamers were disinterested in the corpse and wanted to keep playing during the investigation
    • In 2005, a South Korean man died after a 50 hour gaming session
      • He had not slept properly and had eaten very little in the 50 hours
      • The cause of death was presumed to be heart failure due to exhaustion
        • He had recently been fired from his job for missing work to play video games
        • Callout: South Korea has established a limit on gaming
          • Kids under 16 years old cannot play online games between midnight and 6am
          • Gamers are forced to take breaks every 2 hours of gaming
          • There are now proposals to regulate video games the same way as drugs and alcohol because they’re being considered addictive substances

Kicking the habit

  • Japan’s Education Ministry is opening “fasting camps”
    • These camps will be completely disconnected, with no computers, smartphones, tablets or other Internet-connective devices
    • The camp will include therapy and lectures on how to play outdoors without a smartphone
    • This is to treat the estimated half a million children in Japan who are addicted to the Internet
  • Treatment centers have begun to open in the US
    • A center outside of Seattle, Restart, is America’s first residential internet addiction centre
    • A hospital in Pennsylvania has opened the first inpatient care treatment program
      • The psychiatric hospital takes in 4 internet addicts at a time, putting them through therapy and teaching them how to use the Internet minimally and in a non-invasive way
  • Signs you may be addicted:
    • Losing track of time
    • Irritability when interrupted
    • Feelings of guilt about the amount of time you spend on the ‘net
    • Isolation from family and friends
    • Dry eyes, aches, weight gain or sleep disturbances
  • Tips to limit your Internet use:
    • Think about what you’re missing out on while you’re on the Internet and spend some time pursuing those activities instead
    • Set goals for your Internet use
      • Limit your time
      • Take frequent breaks
      • Work on other activities
    • Alter your routine
      • If you usually spend evening surfing the web, try limiting your Internet use to mornings
    • Hang out with people who aren’t addicted to the Internet
    • Start getting your media in other places
      • Buy a newspaper, read a magazine, visit a bookstore or music store
    • Treat the Internet as a tool
      • Stay focused on the information you’re seeking