Fun With Biased Studies, Or How To Use Misleading Stats To Bash Technology

from the let's-look-a-bit-closer... dept

Back in January we wrote about a ridiculously bad study done by a so-called “children’s charity” named NCH which blamed the internet for child porn by confusing correlation with causation (they noted that the number of child porn arrest increased with the internet – and thus, decided it was the internet, and not those involved with child porn, who should be held responsible). Now, the folks from NCH are back again with yet another misleading study. This time, they’re claiming that (oh no!) 86% of parents fear 3G phones will threaten the safety of their children, while saying that data services on mobile phones should be classified as “adult services.” You can go to the NCH website directly and download a huge pdf file that has the details of the study. Here’s how they got the answers they wanted. They started with a very strong leading question making it sound like 3G phones are horrible: “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: ‘It’s hard enough today to supervise and support children who use the internet as it is. It sounds as though new 3G phones will make that more or less impossible. If they’re using them out on the street, on the bus or in the school playground, you just can’t be there to help them.'” Kind of difficult to say no to that without knowing a lot more details – which NCH doesn’t bother to provide. Then, follow that up immediately with the question you’re going to send to the press, having already made people think that, damn, those 3G phones sound awful: “Do you agree or disagree with the statement: ‘I am concerned that 3G phones with internet access could threaten a child’s safety.'” Bingo. Instant, unquestioning press coverage of how 3G mobile phones with internet access are the devil’s work.

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Comments on “Fun With Biased Studies, Or How To Use Misleading Stats To Bash Technology”

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Stephen B. Fordham says:

AT&T Over Charging Consumers

I need information of how to get satisfaction from an AT&T and BELLSOUTH blunder. Let me explain! I am a US citizen, a consumer. Back in 2002 I was laid off and therefore had my AT&T long distance disconnected. I just found out that AT&T has continued charging me for the past two years, a service charge, through BELLSOUTH! I called both AT&T and BELLSOUTH to ask how this happened and the response is that somehow th account was never closed between AT&T and BELLSOUTH and that I could only get a 6 month credit!!!! I explained to AT&T representatives Mr. Gilbert Graham and representative employee #S8WB0505, that it was unacceptable and that I wanted my entire two years of payments refunded to me in a check!!! Mr. Graham then kindly told me that AT&T policy only allowed them to refund a six month credit, and if I wouldn’t accept that offer, he could no longer continue the conversation, and then hungup the phone!! I am just a small person in this world but I don’t like being pushed around like this!! I need justice from this GIANT of a company!! Do you have any advice for me?


Stephen B. Fordham
704-965-1703 or 704-509-2278

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: AT&T Over Charging Consumers

> I need information of how to get satisfaction from an AT&T
Ok, this is simple.
1) Declare to AT&T publicly that you demand satisfaction. (I think this is done).
2) Find a second.
3) Have your second arrange terms of the meeting, weapons, paces, etc with AT&T’s second.
4) Meet up and offer AT&T one more chance to satisfy you.
5) Continue with the duel.

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