Indian Engineering Students To Have Internet Cut Off Each Night To Encourage More Social Interaction

from the this-helps-whom-how? dept

For years, there's been this concern that using the internet is somehow "less social" than talking to people through other media. Even though the internet is a communications medium that allows people to talk with people they never would have met otherwise, there's this view that sitting at the computer is a "loner" experience and the people that you talk to online are somehow "virtual" rather than what they really are: real people sitting at another computer. So, it's probably not that surprising that administrators at a top Indian engineering school are blaming this internet isolation for having depressed anti-social students even if there's no real evidence that it's the internet that's at fault. Still, the school has decided as a solution that it will be turning off internet access in dorm rooms from 11pm to 12:30pm each day, hoping that this will (a) cause students to get more sleep and (b) force them to socialize with each other. Of course, there doesn't seem to be any consideration for the idea that they might be using the internet for educational purposes as well, but when you're blaming the internet for all sorts of problems, it's easy to skip over the benefits it brings. Once again, though, this seems like a "blame the internet" effort rather than looking at some of the core issues that may be causing students to feel depressed and anti-social.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Aussie, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 9:53pm

    Fair enough

    I hate dealing with wet-behind-the-ears graduates who can't communicate with customers properly, because they never get out, never socialise, never talk to anyone outside their dorm.

    If homework requires an internet connection at 11pm, WTF are they doing? There are books, downloadable quizzes, and other offline material to use during this period if they need to study more.

    It's also a pity common sense can't be taught as a foundation course, but you don't want to get me started :P

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:04pm

    You take a very hostile attitude towards this. i think it is a good at idea. at my college there this big quiz on the board to measure how addicted you are to the internet with questions like "do you become defensive when people ask what you look at online?" this is deffinately an issue. as far as the education thing its just one hour and what are these "core issues?"

     

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  3.  
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    Alucardbsm, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:22pm

    ??

    I think the first 2 comments are from the same person? Anyone think the same?

     

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  4.  
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    Zaid, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:24pm

    funny!

    ROFL. All they will be doing is giving these geeks another thing to "hack". I do think it will be one of the easier hacks: bribe some dude responsible for shutting the net down few hundred bucks(if that).

    --Zaid

     

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  5.  
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    Bob, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward's post

    You may be right. Students need more study time. (Especially you, it seems.)

    To wit:
    1.) You seem to be unable to write a properly constructed sentence.
    2.) You are apparently oblivious to the convention that first words of sentences are capitalized.
    3.) You are unable to spell the simple word "definitely."
    4.) You cannot even tell time correctly. The elapsed time from 11:00 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. is not one hour. It is thirteen and one-half hours.

    It is the postings of people like you that cause so many of us to wonder if the online world is irreversibly decaying into a society of idiots. (Typos I can understand and tolerate; there is no excuse for incompetence and laziness.) Maybe a little more time spent studying and socializing is what it will take to begin producing intelligent, well-rounded Netizens.

    Yes, this is the posting of a grammar-and-spelling Nazi. I really don't care whether you like it or not. I am tired of reading imbeciles' tripe.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:48pm

    Actually, it's not just 1 hour. 11 pm to 12:30 pm would be an entire night, plus the morning.

     

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  7.  
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    Taarn, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:59pm

    Come off it Bob

    Hey everyone, lets all congratulate Bob on what an educated and intelligent person he is. Round of applause! I'm sure your parents are very proud that you know an exciting word like tripe.
    There's a lot more to life (and education even) than proper spelling and grammar. Don't get me wrong, carelessness like that gets to me too, but you don't have to have such a big stick up your ass about it. If you want to comment, make it about the article, not a bunch of snarky remarks about someones education, or lack thereof.

    That said, I think that the ban is a pretty stupid idea. If people are feeling anti-social or staying up late, they'll find something else to do, or find a way around it. Especially at an engineering school I'm sure there's a lot of course work to be done online. If Indian college students are anything like the US ones that I know, late nights are a common time to get things done.

     

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  8.  
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    Ben, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 11:38pm

    Hours Seem Odd

    While I agree that if you are studying at 11 pm something is wrong, every morning I check the internet as my source of morning news and weather.

    Interesting idea to get kids out and about but what really happens in the majority after 11pm besides drunked parties? Wouldn't it be ironic to watch the university's total gpa slip because of this 'socializing' :p

    I agree with the point of this article. The university should address the underlying problems not just blame something. On another note my university to force us engineers to become more social started holding Gen Ed classes in our buildings. Gives all us 'anti-socials' a chance to meet the other sex without having to walk across campus. Personally I've seen a change in the last two semesters in excitment level of my peers between classes atleast

     

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  9.  
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    Bob, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 12:25am

    Re: Come off it Bob

    Funny, I don't remember mentioning that I particularly cared whether anyone thought I had a "big stick up my ass" or not. It also doesn't really matter to me if someone's tender sensibilities are offended by my "snarky remarks."

    I had the good fortune to have been influenced by a rather demanding and particular English teacher who instilled in me the communicative principles of clarity and accuracy in what I say or write. I have little tolerance for those too lazy to learn or use language in a way that communicates well and clearly.

    My original commentary stands. It is more likely a statement regarding the unwillingness of the original AC to put forth any real effort in their post than a slur upon their education, but I leave that distinction to the AC to determine for himself.

    That said, the disconnection of the Internet access for the engineering school will likely be short-lived. Any engineering student worth the designation as such will quickly find a way not only to provide access for himself and others, but also perhaps to make an attractive profit doing so.

     

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  10.  
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    Jesse McNelis, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 1:24am

    Introverts

    You can't force people to be social. People who spend all day and night in front of a computer screen are doing that because they aren't very social people and find other things to entertain themselves.
    If you take away their internet connection they will just read a book, do homework, watch DVDs etc.

    Introverts have been around since the begining of humanity.

     

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  11.  
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    Jessica, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 1:52am

    working at night

    I agree that these students will probably find an alternate route to internet access soon. I was not even an engineer, just a biochem major and I got some of my best work done at late hours of the night. Especially when you can schedule your own classes and you don't have any morning ones. Also I knew lots of engineers who'd be found in campus computer labs working on projects till 2 or 3 in the morning on a regular basis. So the people most hurt by this will be the ones who work nonstop. It's not like they can find another time to do their work cause most engineers I know use all the time they have to do work already, and barely get out on weekends even with unlimited time to do work online.

     

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  12.  
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    Old Skool, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re: Come off it Bob

    I had the good fortune to have been influenced by a rather demanding and particular English teacher who instilled in me the communicative principles of clarity and accuracy in what I say or write. I have little tolerance for those too lazy to learn or use language in a way that communicates well and clearly.

    What you're seeing is the dumbing down of the US.

    When newspapers were the primary source of information, it was a rare event to see a spelling or grammar mistake. With the advent of the internet and spell-checkers, there seems to be more spelling errors than ever. The Techdirt comment block has a spell-checker but apparently certain people don't know what the little red lines mean.
    I enjoy going to a number of blogs and reading what people have to say, but the brain goes numb trying to decipher some of the garbage that passes as commentary on some sites. This is one of those sites.

     

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  13.  
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    Parijat, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 5:14am

    An insider's opinion

    We got into a big fight with the administration and it was accepted that buying aircards for internet access is trivial to do. Also, gaming can be had by putting in some money for wifi switches. The intent has been to set up some kind of deterrent for students so that they may use time more productively, where even sleeping counts as being productive. True to a certain extent. Again, Internet access is still available within computer labs on campus. Therefore, people who want to work at night can do so. The problem, however, is that not everyone can have access to lab machines if *everyone* begins working in the labs at night. The hope is that computing infrastructure, which is reasonably good even now, is expanded further.

    Am I irritated by the move? Definitely. For one, I don't see why the institute must dictate how I live my life. Can we find a way around this? Sure. Will we? No. Because there is no appreciation for hackers.

    Its been just one night so far, so we still don't know how this is going to affect life on campus. The policy is up for review in a month's time. We'll keep you posted :)

     

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  14.  
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    David Griffin (profile), Mar 13th, 2007 @ 5:30am

    Is 11pm so late ?

    Staying up surfing when you should be sleeping is definitely a problem, but the students need to learn that themselves. Who will police it when they leave Uni otherwise ?

    What noone appears to have mentioned is that for a geek in India, 11pm may well be attractive as a surf time because it is NOT 11pm in some other places. Like the USA or Europe.

    Uni always struck me as a place where noone tells you what to do (unlike high school before it) so you have to learn to run your own life for a change.

    This "turning off the net" is rather like having the campus electricity turned off to ensure lights out at bedtime.

    But we should remember that the people on the ground probably know more about this than we do. Maybe they really do have a serious problem there ?

    Some pals and I used to play table football past 2am after the bar was closed when I was a student. Of course, if that had been a slot machine we'd now be calling it gambling addiction, but maybe it's actually that sometimes we just didn't want to turn in yet.

     

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  15.  
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    billy, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 6:05am

    ha!

    When I was at college, my friend and I always played network games together that late at night. We were usually done with our internet activities by 11 anyways.
    After that, it was time to hang out with the friends!
    Man, that one night spent finishing our Civ 3 game until 4am when we had an 8 am class.
    Wow, what a night.
    I miss college (graduated almost a year ago now).
    And I went to a university in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where we were snowed in for about 3/4 of the school year. Still had tons of fun outside too, like sledding and tubing, and getting yelled at by security for making bob-sled runs out of (icing down) their sidewalks.
    Ahhh it was great.

    Anyways, on topic:
    Shutting down our internet we would have laughed at, since we played games together behind our router, or were hanging out with friends watching movies or stuff.

    They should all start throwing drunken parties, that will teach the college!!!

     

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  16.  
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    Missing, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 6:26am

    Bob

    What Bob needs and would probably appreciate is a good Dom. Like his beloved english teacher.

     

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  17.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 6:49am

    Heart is in the right place

    I think it's a great idea that the college wants its students to interact in person more often but to force them to do it by cutting off the net?

    And I have to say that perhaps 12:30 pm is a little late. During my time in college I had the fortune of rarely having classes before 11am for the last 2 years. It wouldn't make much sense to have to go to a computer lab at that early in the day just because it has been dictated that I should interact more.

    Just what will the administration do if this leads to drunken parties, falling gpa scores, and who knows what else?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 7:45am

    no internet means...

    if they cut off the internet for those hours, it wont help socialiizing. it'll just help sleep.

    no more studing after hours, and no more WoW

     

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  19.  
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    Wesha, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 10:30am

    Just think about it. A bunch of technology students who have nothing better to do. Plus Internet which "threats any censorship as communication disruption and works around it". I bet my bottom dollar by the end of the year they'll be running a campus-wide, ultra-high-speed, DYI, "designed here" 802.22 wireless network. :)

     

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  20.  
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    God and religion are distinct., Mar 13th, 2007 @ 11:28am

    Real issue

    1. Hinduism is illegal because it creates hierarchy of people within Hindus which is against Article 14 of Constitution ie Right to Equality.
    2. Hinduism is unethical because parents preach their children to hate other children as per the above hierarchy.

    This is why rest of the world views Indians as suffering from too much sarcasm and hypocrisy.

     

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  21.  
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    Robert, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 11:29am

    Interesting points of view

    It is always interesting to see the responses to these diatribes people like Mike put up. They conveniently end-up on an RSS list you might arbitrarily have subscribed to in Live.com under "Tech".

    I agree with Bob that someone worth listening to is most likely going to know how to spell or use the technology they are touting. That is not to suggest that ignorant people have poor ideas, insights or information to offer. My experience is that education, attention to detail and care about ones work usually follows people who have sense about them. Sometimes it seems Mike's existence is to complain about anything that attacks the internet (or the like) like the ACLU does for anything short of anarchy. Even though it should be understood, it might be a good idea to have Mike put "For entertainment purposes only" since many of the things he talks about are rarely more than that in usefulness.

    I do agree with many here that the university's idea to cut off the internet at that time is fruitless. I'm not convinced a lot of thinking went into the decision, really. I do not, however, think that cutting off university supplied internet is bad in and of itself. History is replete with heros of knowledge and learning that never had the internet and so the argument that cutting off the internet will hurt GPAs is rather weak. At least, implying that cutting off the internet cuts off a vital resource to studying is weak in my opinion. If that is the case with these students, then they should get their money back because the school is not doing its job of educating them for success after college.

    Oddly enough, I am an internet junky. I play way too many hours of Guild Wars each week. The power went off recently for about three hours and I found, refreshingly enough, that there really are other things that interest me.

    Do I blame the internet for my addiction or for being too interesting and enticing? No. But I cannot, and you should not, ignore that the internet plays a role and has an influence in my decisions for how I spend my time. Yes, it is my choice and my responsibility. But if we are to be honest with ourselves concerning the role of education for undergraduate college students, we will take note that these young people are still learning about responsibility and about discipline in their lives.

    I salute the school for attempting to contribute to the complete education of the student. It is risque in the world of cyber-whiners like Mike...each with their own little blog space and RSS feed. I just wish they would think a little more about what they are trying to accomplish and picking a more appropriate time.

     

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  22.  
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    A non-slave IT guy, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Come off it Bob

    @Taarn, Post #7

    "Hey everyone, lets all congratulate Bob on what an educated and intelligent person he is."

    Congratulations, Bob! Seriously and sincerely. You have managed to rise above the average American/Internet idiot.

    "There's a lot more to life (and education even) than proper spelling and grammar."

    Quite right. There is more to life. Stating this obvious truth says nothing for or against the value of (striving for) high quality in how one expresses and represents themselves.

    I wish more people like Bob would speak up more often. I say bring more shame and ridicule on those whose behavior warrants it. Let'sraise our standards, not constantly lower them by failing to object to the inferior and the wrong. Perhaps then, some day, lazy/illiterate punks will get the clue that it is a good idea to polish their act a bit.

     

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  23.  
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    A non-slave IT guy, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 3:32pm

    Dumbing down

    @ Old Skool, Post #12

    What you're seeing is the dumbing down of the US.

    It is my observation that part of the explanation for this 'dumbing down' effect has to do with a culture of permissiveness. When we fail to object, when we let it pass, when we don't point out the error, people are left to think that everything is fine. Eventually, more mistakes become part of 'common usage'.

    I understand that modern life is overwhelming. Most people feel, usually semi-consciously or unconsciously, that there are already too many things to be concerned with, and in order to cope they just give up on caring about something that might seem unimportant, relatively speaking.

    And some of us don't.

    Right here, right now, I am expending my energy and time to combat poor use of language when I could be doing something more fun or more in line with what I am being paid to do. But, I choose to champion a better world. One grammar/spelling Nazi post at a time. :)

     

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  24.  
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    SFGary, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 5:06pm

    Half the freaking comments - tangential/unrelated

    Guys, is there a way we can stay on the point being made in the post? All these personal attacks, grammatical one upmanship etc are becoming tedious.

    Just so that I am also not accused of veering - I agree that the busybody administrators of the University should worry less about the students personal lives and let them be. There are too many variables at work here and to decide that they may be wasting time or are being isolated is none of their business.

    To the dude who made the egregious religion/cultural attack - have you not heard of the term "people in glass houses should not throw stones?"

     

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  25.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 8:22am

    I am one of those who has 9 AM lectures 4 days a week, so I am closer to the CS, maths or general labs, or just library computers for news browsing, but I would still be most upsept if I could not acces the network at coolege all morning. One of the students at my college tracked the network connections by recording the connection/dissconnection warnings in his security software, and noticed that the number of connections peaked at 6-8PM, 11PM-1AM, and 7-9AM, and that more people were on during the morning than evening. Thus disconnecting the internet all morning would be rathr unpopular. Of course, if by some quirk of the timetabling all students had lectures/pracs/tutes all morning, then blocking internet access during those time might be reasonable, but I doubt this is the case.

    About spelling and grammar, in my case I try to be good if somewhat formal in work (I have been described as either as verbose as Sir Humphrey appleby and as pedantic as Bernard Wooley, or as terse a telegram of the Bible sent by a miser), but since my posting on TD is the last thing I do in the evening, there is the problem of managing coffee input to ensure my typing is coherent, with niether too many "teh"s and misplaced spaces or sentences which make no sense in the cold light of day. When more alert i do sometimes clarify my posts, especially when trying to explain a political view.

    Pesonally I believe that The Complete Plain Words, by sir Ernest Gowers (1981 ed), should be a required textbook for all English students, especially since in south Australia, illiterates can, and do, get As for english communications, which requires no grasp of English, and the more formal English Studies has very few marks allocated to actual ability to produce acceptable English prose.
    One of my pet hates on this site is the persistent use of "mute point" when the writer means "moot point', and other such stupidities, especially misuse of forgien phrases. If people must show off, then at least they should do so correctly.
    Forward the grammar Nazi.

     

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  26.  
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    dunno, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 12:16am

    ...question.. answer asap :)

    uhm how can you take the internet curfew off??

     

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