| Updated at: 1621 PST, Friday, September 17, 2010|
NEW YORK: A 34-year-old Astoria comedian is flushing his digital dependency by holing up in his bathroom for five days, with the wacky campaign kicking off in the tiled, pink room Monday.
"I fell like I was losing control and needed to do something extreme," said Mark Malkoff, while sitting in the tub that now doubles as his bed.
All jokes aside, Internet addiction has become a serious problem, with the potential to strain relationships, rob sleep and fuel other compulsions such as gambling and pornography, psychologists say.
"We are too addicted," said Chris Parker, 22, of Queens. "It's cool that someone's putting a spotlight on it. I should probably cut back, too."
Others, though, weren't quite ready to drop their tech gear.
"I don't think it's a problem," said Lauren Burkh, 28, of Queens. "I depend on my BlackBerry for work, life and everything." In recent years, Malkoff had become a full-blown tech addict, checking his iPhone constantly and flipping through Twitter, Facebook and the Drudge Report all day.
The prankster has had previous similar schemes to live in unusual places, including sleeping in an Ikea store.
While he spends the next few days in his "new apartment," Malkoff's storing his clothes in a shower caddy and keeping his food in the bathroom cabinets. To pass all his new free time, Malkoff intends to read a friend's screenplay, write letters to friends and finish a book proposal.
When his wife needs to use the bathroom, he'll gather up his sleeping bag and then go right back in after she's done.
"I'm not quite thrilled with this inconvenience in my life," said Christine Peel-Malkoff, 32.
As of yesterday afternoon, Malkoff was feeling a bit anxious about his bold move into his loo.
"It's a lot harder than I was expecting," he said.