Count To 10, Then Read This

A new study shows that Web rage is becoming a workplace problem.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 19, 2002

1 Min Read

Keep a close eye on the guy in the next cubicle. If his download times out because of network congestion, you could be in for some serious trouble.

So says a new study measuring "Web rage," or violence caused by Internet-related frustration, performed by U.K.-based polling firm Market & Opinion Research International. The poll found that more than half of all Internet users experience Net frustration on a weekly basis, and one out of 10 users deal with it daily.

When people get mad at the Internet, they take out their anger in the real world. Seven percent of respondents say they hit their equipment. Four percent pound on their desks. And 2% say they've become so upset they've hit the person who sits next to them. Surfers say that slow-loading Web sites are the biggest cause of irritation, followed by unhelpful help buttons and sites that require users to enter personal details before gaining access.

But there may be more to Web rage than just aggravating downloads, says Mark Gorkin, an expert on workplace stress and operator of "I think this is a sign more of the transitory and vulnerable nature of the workplace today and the sense that people are feeling like they're just pawns," he says. "This is how the anger gets worked out, through attacking computers or even other workers." Gorkin says management needs to work harder to repair frazzled nerves and rebuild worker confidence. In the meantime, raging Web surfers should take some time away from the keyboard. "Don't shortchange yourself when it comes to physical exercise," he says. "If you're feeling that stressed, get away, walk around for a while."

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