Dataholics Anonymous

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LONDON: Are you a dataholic? Some telltale signs: You check your e-mail obsessively from both work and home. You go offline every 10 minutes just in case you have new voice mail. Your palms are sweating right now as you wait for the first link in this story so you can surf off to the next instantaneous information thrill?

If so, take heart you are not alone. According to a major new survey from London-based Reuters, entitled "Glued to the Screen: An investigation into information addiction worldwide," entire generations of info-junkies are being raised by the Internet. More than half of the respondents international business people all admitted to craving information, and to getting a "high" when they find what they're looking for through an on-line search engine. And the next generation could be even more addicted: Just under half worried that their children prefer computers to the company of others.

"When people are spending three or four hours on the Internet, clearly it is not good for productivity at work, and the same thing is true at home," said Reuters spokesman Paul Waddington. One solution: Turn your modem off right now, in the middle of this sentence, and go for a long walk in the park. Well, it was just a suggestion.