Forget wired. How about addicted? High-tech toys sure look good in the ads, but they can lead you deeper in debt.
Americans and high-tech wizardry are firmly attached at the hip and electrical socket, according to the latest AP-Ipsos poll. Throw in your chips, Luddites. You've lost.
Almost half of those polled could not imagine life without a personal computer. And it's not just young adults -- 51 percent of those in their 30s admit they need their PC, whereas 38 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds admit the same dependency.
Of course, it's more than just Microsoft Word and that handy calculator in the accessories folder. It appears that this "virus" is e-mail related -- 68 percent said they have Internet access, and 61 percent of those folks are cruising the Web at high speeds. Of those who said they have cable Internet, DSL or the like, 38 percent admitted that they could not foresee a life without it.
Staying connected to friends, family and work seems to be the running theme. Cell phones are just as popular as PCs (75 percent), and 41 percent of Americans would be lost without one.
Instant gratification doesn't come without a price. Thirty-two percent of those polled pay more than $200 a month on all this technology, by far the most popular response (23 percent pay between $50 and $100, 20 percent clock in between $100 and $150).
One category that got surprisingly little love? Digital music players. Only 24 percent had an MP3 player in the house, and the figure only rose to 33 percent when you isolate 18-to-49-year-olds. The poll of 1,006 adults, conducted Dec. 13-15, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Maybe it's the escalating bills, but Americans aren't spreading this newfound love around much this holiday season.
When asked if they have bought or were considering buying any of these 21st century gadgets as presents, the response was an overwhelming bah-humbug. Only 12 percent are eyeing the iPod, and only 11 percent even thought about maxing out the checking account for an Xbox or Playstation. And despite the horrific Black Friday videos from Wal-Mart, only 13 percent said they might wrap up a DVD player.
The ugly stepchild of the information age? Satellite radio. Just 14 percent said they had something like XM or Sirius in their house and a measly 4 percent might give it as a gift. Howard Stern, you've got your work cut out for you.