They are comfortable with gadgets, yet shudder sometimes as the cell phone rings.
This group — primarily male and in their late 20s — is called the "Ambivalent Networkers" in a study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Pew found this group notable because its members have lived with the Internet and other technologies for much of their lives.
In the study, Pew examined American adults' gadgets and services, their activities and their attitudes toward technology. About 60 percent of the overall respondents didn't have significant attachments to mobile devices, either because they didn't have such gadgets or because they were fine with desktop PCs.
But nearly 40 percent did say they were glued to their mobile devices. And the Ambivalent Networkers make up a fifth of that group.
"They're the most active on social networks and using mobile devices for a range of activities, yet they think it's a good idea to take a break," said John Horrigan, Pew's associate director for research. "They are not thrilled about all that's available."
These people aren't willing to go off the grid, either, said Lee Rainie, Pew's director. Their friends, family and co-workers are all connected by technology, and they fear they'd miss out if they check out.
Technology, to them, "feels like an obligation," Rainie said.
Another one-fifth of the mobile-attached users feel quite differently. These people, according to Pew, are the "Digital Collaborators." They not only are comfortable with technology, but they also are enthusiastic. They also tend to be male, but in their late 30s.
Horrigan said Digital Collaborators more likely have elevated into jobs that require collaboration across distance.
"The live a professional lifestyle that draws them to digital resources," he said. "They are lunging ahead with less fear and hesitation."
The Pew analysis was based on surveys taken in late 2007 of 3,553 adult Americans. The surveys have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.