Would You Rather…?

Would You Rather...?

Would you rather give up Internet access forever – or cut off a finger? Lose your mobile connectivity permanently – or give away your dog? Technology has become such an integral part of our lives that making choices like these can feel downright impossible.

To find out just how far people would go to stay connected, we posed these dilemmas and more to over 2,000 people in the U.S. Keep reading to see the startling truths we uncovered about difficult decisions in the digital age.

The Internet vs. Chocolate, Eyesight, or Love

Internet vs Chocolate, Eyesight or Love

What would it take for someone to give up the Internet? The overwhelming majority of survey respondents wouldn’t hesitate to swear off chocolate to retain Internet access. A significant number would even make physical sacrifices: 4 in 10 would relinquish sight in one eye, and 3 in 10 would cut off a finger. What’s hardest to give up? Over 8 in 10 would find it hard to live without human interaction or love – and three-quarters wouldn’t quit their dream job.  

Cut Off the Internet – or Your Finger?

Cut Off the Internet – or Your Finger

Based on survey results, 3 in 10 people would sooner take a hacksaw to one of their fingers than give up the Internet. Who’s most likely to make that choice? Men are more inclined than women to choose the Internet – but even so, over 1 in 5 women would amputate a pinky to stay online. Additionally, people in the Northeast are most willing to sacrifice a digit, while Southerners are slightly more reluctant.

The Internet vs. a Human Life

A matter of life and death…

The Internet vs a Human Life

Would you give up the Internet forever to save a stranger’s life? More than half of our survey respondents (55%) would not. Among the most willing to sacrifice the Web to save a stranger? Women, older people, and those who have been married at some point. On the other hand, men, younger people, and singles are least likely to give up the Internet to ensure a stranger’s survival.

Would you rather …
Have high-speed Internet in your home or running water?

Almost 20% of the people we surveyed value having an Internet connection in their homes more than having running water. (Who needs to wash dishes or flush toilets when you have the world at your fingertips?)

Give Up the Internet to Do a Good Deed?

Give Up the Internet to Do a Good Deed

We’ve covered the negatives – so what positive occurrences might people find worth sacrificing the Internet? Almost 4 in 10 would forever forgo surfing the Web to cure cancer, over 2 in 10 would do so to end world hunger, nearly 2 in 10 would to live forever, and around 1 in 10 would to save a dying friend. The shocker? More than 1 in 8 respondents were resolute – they wouldn’t give up the Internet for anything.

Mobile Connectivity vs. Your Significant Other

Mobile Connectivity vs Your Significant Other

It turns out love trumps technology – at least for most people. Our survey shows that over 84% of people would sacrifice mobile connectivity (i.e., smartphones and tablets) rather than dump their significant other or closest loved one. However, age makes a difference: Almost 18% of people aged 18 to 20 would choose their smartphone, but only 3% of people aged 50 to 59 would do the same.

Mobile Connectivity vs. Your Dog

Mobile Connectivity vs Your Dog

When it comes to trusty sidekicks, which matters most: staying connected on the go or your dog? If forced to make a tough choice, almost 3 in 10 people would rather part ways with their pup than mobile connectivity. Women were slightly more faithful to “man’s best friend” than men. Only 25% of women would kick Fido to the curb, compared with 33% of men.

A Week Offline vs. a Root Canal

A Week Offline vs. a Root Canal

It’s clear that most people love the Internet. However, our survey reveals that the majority of people would be willing to take a temporary break from it to avoid physical discomfort. Almost 85% would rather spend a week offline than have a root canal. Older people were even more eager to dodge the endodontist.

And the Survey Says … We Love the Internet

The technology dilemmas we posed sparked some very surprising results. Most people love the Internet more than they love chocolate – and almost a third of people love it so much they’d give up a finger to stay connected. Saving a human life is a higher priority, but still fewer than half of people would give up the Web to do so.

People love mobile Internet too. Nearly 2 in 10 people would give up their significant other to stay connected on the go – and almost 3 in 10 would ditch their dog for their mobile connectivity.

The best part about all this? While the dilemmas are interesting to consider, you can keep your Internet access and mobile connectivity without giving up a thing. Flex your 10 fingers, eat your chocolate, pat your dog – plus enjoy surfing the Web as much as you want. Talk about having it all!


We conducted a survey of 2,099 U.S. residents between Mar. 15 and Mar. 21, 2016.  Respondents came from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.


We grant permission to share all the images on this page freely. When doing so, please credit the authors by providing a link to this page so your readers can learn more about this project and the methodology.

Keep Calm, Your Internet’s On.

©2016 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, Globe logo, Mobilizing Your World and DIRECTV are registered trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.