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Survey: U.S. residents addicted to e-mail

Some are so hooked that they check for messages while in the bathroom

By Juan Carlos Perez
May 30, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - U.S. residents are so hooked on e-mail that some check for messages in the bathroom, in church and while driving, a new survey sponsored by America Online Inc. has found.

The average e-mail user in the U.S. has two or three e-mail accounts and spends about an hour every day reading, sending and replying to messages, according to the survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp.

E-mail dependency is so strong for 41% of survey respondents that they check their e-mail in-boxes right after getting out of bed in the morning. The average user checks his in-box five times a day, according to the survey, which polled 4,012 respondents at least 18 years old in the 20 largest U.S. cities.

About a fourth of respondents acknowledged being so addicted to e-mail that they can't go more than two or three days without checking for messages. That includes vacations, during which 60% of respondents admitted logging into their in-boxes.

Unsurprisingly, all that e-mail activity sometimes leads to regrets. Almost half of respondents -- 45% -- indicated they would like to have the ability to retrieve a message they have sent but that hasn't been read yet.

There is also some attachment anxiety to sent messages. A significant portion of respondents -- 43% -- would like to be able to track where their messages get forwarded.

The areas in which it's most likely to find e-mail junkies are, in descending order: Miami/Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and Houston.

For those interested in curbing their e-mail compulsion, here are some suggestions:

  • Resolve not to check e-mail after a certain hour of the night, and respect the curfew.

  • Close the loop on an ongoing e-mail discussion by picking up the phone and calling the other person.

  • Consider how many messages you send out.

  • Act on every e-mail you open by deleting it, forwarding it, responding to it or filing it.

  • Go without e-mail one day per week.
Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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