More Americans Are Owning Up to Their Addiction – to Email

August 22, 2008 ( - According to AOL Mail's fourth annual Email Addiction Survey, nearly half (46%) of email users admitted they are hooked on email - up from just 15% who described themselves as addicts last year.

More than half (51%) of email users said they check their email four or more times a day and one in five said they check their email more than 10 times a day, according to a press release. Twenty-three percent of survey respondents reported they check email as soon as they wake up, followed by right when they get home from work (11%), and right after dinner (9%).

Among email users, 16% said they check their email from a mobile device and 55% said they upgraded to a new cell phone in the last year so they could get their email while on-the-go.

What qualifies as addiction is the fact that nearly half (41%) of mobile email users said they keep their cell phones near them when they sleep so they can hear when a new email comes in, and 49% admitted they check their email every single time a new message arrives.

Of all email users, 60% said they have never gone more than five days without checking email and 17% cannot go more than one day without email. Eleven percent admitted they have hidden from a spouse or family member the fact that they are checking email.

The Work Influence

Could it be work driving Americans to email addiction? The survey found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of at-work email users said they check their work email over a typical weekend, and nearly one in five (19%) check email five or more times in a weekend.

What’s worse is that 28% indicated they feel obligated to check work email while on vacation, and 19% choose vacation spots with email access. More than 50% of respondents said they check email while on vacation, and the number is even higher among mobile users – 78%.

Aside from when email is checked, where email is checked could be a sign of addiction. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents said they check email in bed in their pajamas, 59% check email from the bathroom, and half check email while driving. Fifteen percent admitted to checking email while in church.

For some, email has become a more comfortable mode of conversation. Sixteen percent admitted they have relied on email as a way to share uncomfortable or bad news with someone. In addition, 12% have used email to ask someone on a date, and 7% have broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend over email.

The ten most email addicted cities in the country, according to the press release, are:

  • New York ,
  • Houston ,
  • Chicago ,
  • Detroit ,
  • San Francisco ,
  • Sacramento ,
  • Orlando ,
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul,
  • Denver , and
  • Phoenix

AOL Mail, in partnership with Beta Research, conducted an online survey of 4,000 email users ages 13 and older in the top 20 U.S. markets June 11-18, 2008.

The full survey findings can be found at .