What would you do if you were given a choice, go blind in one eye, or forever be without the Internet? Both options are permanent and cannot be undone. Would this be a difficult choice? Would you have to think about it, weighing the pros and cons? Or would it be easy to walk away from the Internet? Or would you instead choose to go blind in one eye?
Thankfully, you do not need to make that choice. AT&T conducted a survey of 2,099 US Internet Users between March 15 and March 21, 2016, and asked them what they would be willing to give up to keep their Internet Access. The results are horrifying. 40% of respondents would give up sight in one eye over giving up the Internet. What else would they be willing to give up?
What Would You Choose?
Look at these results for a moment and see the horror. 30% of respondents would rather give up their sense of taste than the Internet. 30% would rather lose a finger than give up the Internet. Almost 20% would live a loveless life if they could continue to access the Internet. Nearly 17% would rather live a life without human interaction if they can continue to get their interactions on the Internet. For our next example, let’s determine who would rather loose a finger, men or women?
Men Vs. Women: Who Chops off their Finger?
It comes as no surprise men would rather lose a finger, but women are not far behind. What is surprising is rates differ depending on geographical location. Respondents in the Northeast responded slightly more for chopping off a finger when compared to the South. Next, let’s get truly dark: would you let a stranger die to keep your Internet Access?
Would you Let a Stranger Die?
According to the respondents, males would be more likely to let a complete stranger die instead of giving up their Internet access forever. Females would be split on this issue, with the majority of respondents choosing to let someone die. I imagine the scenario of someone holding a gun to the head of a stranger, asking them to choose if they live or die. I cannot imagine choosing for someone to die so that I can access my social media. It does not help that almost 3/4ths of 18-20-year-olds would choose to let someone die. Given the overall average of respondents would choose to let someone die is pathetic. For our next scenario, would you give up the Internet to cure cancer?
To Cure Cancer (Or Not)
It seems about 1/3rd would give up the Internet to cure cancer, also meaning 2/3’s would not. Let that sink in. If you could cure all cancer, and the cost would be to forgo the Internet forever, 2/3rds would not cure Cancer. How narcissistic is that? What’s worse is only 1 out of 10 would sacrifice the Internet to save a dying friend. I guess they can always get a new friend on social media. What is shocking is only 16% would choose to be immortal, to never die, if it meant never being online again. 84% would choose the Internet over immortality. The true kicker is around 13% would not give up the Internet for any of the reasons above. Our next question: does love trump technology?
Love Wins (In Theory)
It seems love wins out over the Internet, at least in theory. This surprises me given the damning responses before. Respondents are willing to let strangers die, forgo curing cancer, and removing their eyes, but not their significant others? I do not believe this, based on the past responses, but as this is just a survey, there is little science here. Let’s see if respondents would be willing to kick Fido to the curve for their Internet.
It turns out, people’s dogs are more important than eyes, fingers, and friends. I will be honest; I would rather lose a dog than an eye as I need my eye to live life. While it would be painful to lose a pet, I think my quality of life would be lower if I lost an eye. Next, we explore if physical pain is worse than losing the Internet.
Pulling Teeth (Or Abstinence)
This question was different, as it only covers losing the Internet for a week as opposed to forever. It seems people do not like root canals. In this, I agree, I would easily give up the Internet for a week to bypass a root canal. Finally, responses that make sense!
Do Not Take This Survey Seriously
There is a good chance this survey was a marketing stunt for AT&T to get people taking. On their site, I could find no examples of the questions asked, or any other details beyond the sample size. This is not a scientific survey or science of any kind. Surveys are often the least reliable form of assessment, as it is a snapshot of an opinion with no weight behind it. No real scientist uses a survey alone to reach conclusions.
In all honestly, most people would not respond in this way if they truly had to choose these options. I cannot imagine someone choosing to lose an eye rather than lose the Internet. What is disturbing to me is the causal nature of this survey. The Internet has become such a fixture in our lives we cannot even imagine losing it without freaking out.
AT&T’s motto, “Keep Calm Your Internet’s On” shows us what is wrong with our society. If you are experiencing anxiety, to the point you cannot keep calm just because your Internet is down, you need help. The problem is many in our society would freak out. I have seen teenagers in my therapy office freak out and experience withdrawals from not being online. Internet Addiction is real, and it is becoming normal behavior, and this mock survey highlights it. I worry for the future of our children and our society, with survey results such as these.
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