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Brits get anxious without internet or mobile phone access

Two thirds of web users switch on to switch off

Brits are a nation of mobile phone and internet addicts that become anxious when disconnected, says Virgin Media.

Research conducted for the ISP by Future Laboratory revealed that 85 percent of stay at home mums have their internet access permanently switched on, while 36 percent of Brits admitted they were concerned about keeping in touch with their family when disconnected.

Staying in a place with no mobile phone coverage, or suffering from the internet going down, is a cause of high stress and anxiety for an increasing number of people, the study suggested.

A quarter of web users said they get stressed if they can't access online maps, while 21 percent said not being able to access online dating sites caused them stress. Nearly one in five also said they got anxious if they couldn't use the web to search for the best deals.

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One in three web users also said they not longer felt any guilt about always being connected while two thirds said they felt more relaxed when they had immediate mobile or internet access available. Virgin Media nicknamed these web users Sosos or 'Switch on to switch off'.

"An 'always on' lifestyle may not be for everyone but the report highlights that there is a significant number of people for whom always being connected actually increases peace of mind," said Mark Schweitzer, chief operating officer at Virgin Media.

Psychologist James Brook, told The Telegraph: "These people know that, the modern world waits for no one and that taking a break from technology means potentially missing out."

"At any time we might miss an important email or a phone call, an old friend may try to get in touch via Facebook or breaking news may come in. If they feel that they cannot keep up with these things because they are not connected, it will naturally have a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing and peace of mind."

Users of the Apple iPhone, with its easy-to-use browser and large screen, have quickly become the heaviest mobile internet users on the market. While Android and Palm have followed some of the trends set by the iPhone, other phone and operating-system developers that have been around for some time do not appear to have caught up.

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See also: Study: UK is a nation of internet addicts

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