stories filed under: "dangers"
Fri, Feb 20th 2009 7:22am
A story doing the rounds says a new article in a British biology journal claims that social networking is harmful to your health, running under headlines like "How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer." Apparently replacing face-to-face human contact with online socializing "could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance," according to the BBC, leading to an increase of serious health problems -- or, put a slightly more sensationalized way, Twitter will kill you. Charles Arthur at The Guardian's tech blog actually bothered to read the entire article, not just the press release, and says the breathless stories are based on more on bad journalism than junk science. The original article doesn't ever really get into the direct effect of online social networks, beyond saying people are spending more and more time on them, and never mentions any by name; it just says people are spending less time with other people, and that biologists should work to create more awareness of the detrimental effects that can have. But hey, that's way less interesting than saying MySpace is going to rot your insides.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 4th 2008 12:20pm
from the that's-what-the-press-taught-them dept
We've discussed repeatedly how the press has freaked people out over the greatly overhyped threats of online risks to children. And, not surprisingly, those stories have had an impact. Adam Thierer points us to a Larry Magid column where he's discussing a recent survey that shows many parents are more worried about online threats to their kids than they are about the threat of drunk driving or drugs. Magid points out how silly this is, and how low the real risk is to kids surfing the internet. He's the latest mainstream press columnist to realize how much the mainstream press has overplayed this threat for years. It's just too bad that it's taken this long for everyone to realize the threat online isn't nearly as big as it has been made out to be.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 3rd 2007 1:04pm
from the that's-the-best-you-can-do? dept
You may recall that back in May the BBC's "Panorama" TV show was accused of running a scaremongering TV program about the supposed "dangers" of WiFi on children. There were numerous problems with the program, from bad science to bad reporting. You would think that the BBC might take those sorts of accusations seriously. Apparently, it was enough for the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit to take a look at the issue. It took the ECU six months, but its report is out and it admits that Panorama made some mistakes, but really only cops to one particular mistake: that it presented the one dissenter on the program in a very biased light. It doesn't seem to say anything about the fact that a major source for the program happens to sell equipment designed to test how much "radiation" there is as well as products of questionable scientific value to "protect" you from such radiation (radiation protecting beekeeper hat anyone?). The whole thing was such a joke that even the kids in the school where some of the program was filmed pointed out how unscientific the experiment was. Unfortunately, the BBC doesn't seem to address any of that in its review of the program at all. Perhaps we'll need to wait another six months.