Does The Internet Help Or Hurt Social Relationships… Again

from the all-in-how-you-read-the-data dept

Just how many times do we need people to come out with studies claiming that, somehow, the internet hurts people’s ability to socialize? It seems like one comes out every so often, but the details are always sketchy. The latest one is a followup to one a few years ago, but this one claims it has more proof that the internet hurts our socializing. Of course, the details suggest this really depends heavily on how you define socializing. People who use the internet do tend to watch less TV and spend less time face-to-face with others. They also get less sleep. However, when they’re on the internet, nearly 60% of their time is spent communicating with others using email, instant messaging or other tools. The study does note that all that communication usually is more with friends and co-workers, rather than family. Of course, all of this data is aggregate data which can be quite misleading for a variety of reasons. By now it should be incredibly clear that the internet can both help and harm communication, depending on the people in question and how it’s used. To generalize across aggregate data seems a bit pointless.

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Comments on “Does The Internet Help Or Hurt Social Relationships… Again”

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dorpus says:

Prior Probabilities

I get into plenty of arguments about Japan on the Japan forum, so a woman who liked what I said on the forum flew to the USA to see me last month. When I arrived in Japan yesterday to visit family, she came to the airport to meet me too. Without the internet, my chance of meeting her was zero. I’ve met plenty of other women the same way before, and will no doubt continue meeting more. As I’ve said before, God made the internet so women who love me will come from the sky.

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