Recently, we've had stories about how much kids use instant messaging (often using AOL's AIM service) and also about how kids may be "addicted" to the internet (though, that claim seems overblown). So, it may be interesting to see what happens over the next few days. Apparently, AOL screwed something up and accidentally deleted a large number of active users and won't be able to get them back up and running until Monday. For many, that may not seem like a big deal (and considering the fact that many of us have multiple IM accounts on multiple IM networks, thanks to all of these IM companies refusing to interoperate), but for people who find instant messaging to be their main form of communicating, they're going to have to go into forced withdrawal. If the "addicted to the internet" camp is right, then there should be a noticeable impact among those who were disconnected. If, as some of us assume, the addiction isn't really that bad, then people will figure out ways to cope and will be fine with a little bit of quiet time.
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