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Internet Use Cuts Socializing Time 306

Posted by michael
from the something's-gotta-give dept.
Sammy at Palm Addict writes "A new survey published in the New York Times states that using the internet has seriously cut into our socializing time. We spend less time watching TV and more time using the internet and following up email. 'The survey found that use of the Internet has displaced television watching and a range of other activities. Internet users watch television for one hour and 42 minutes a day, compared with the national average of two hours.'"
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Internet Use Cuts Socializing Time

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  • The Journal "Duh!" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aborchers (471342) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:42AM (#11227506) Homepage Journal
    Since when did the NYT become the Journal "Duh!"?

    There are only so many hours in a day and if you spend them doing something that you couldn't do in the past, you aren't going to have them to do things you would have previously done.

    Or am I missing something?
    • by Vampyre_Dark (630787) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:46AM (#11227544)
      Or am I missing something?

      Nope, Captain Obvious needs a paycheck too!
    • by Golias (176380) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:52AM (#11227582)
      What I wonder about is how the NYT survey would have counted people like me.

      Last night, I was playing World of Warcraft while marathon-watching the Season 1 episodes of "Tru Calling" on DVD using the eMac that sits next to my game PC.

      So, are multi-taskers like me counted as "on the Internet for five hours", "watching TV for five hours", or "both"?

      If "both", then I managed to squeeze 10 man-hours of recreation into the time from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Talk about productivity! w00t!
      • Man! You deserve a break. :-)

        My computer is within 2m of my TV. In fact, the TV remote typically sits on top of the computer case. It is rare that I have only one of the devices on.
    • It's a study that puts into numbers what we already knew. Slashdot is just not a very good place to poll for these types of numbers, given how many people that say "I don't own a TV anymore everything is crap!@!#" will get modded up in this discussion.
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      I usually do both at the same time, I have the TV running while I'm on the Internet. So am I being just as antisocial as before since I'm not taking up so much "extra time" to do email follow up?
    • by severoon (536737) on Friday December 31, 2004 @06:43PM (#11230664) Journal

      I think this study is flawed. Aren't the people predisposed to spending lots of time on the Internet actually *more* socially engaged (albeit virtually so) than they were previously? I think so...as I understand it, this study doesn't measure the demographics before and after Internet presence, they just compared the two. Likely you'll find that, before, these people weren't socializing anyway--they were on the computer. Now the only difference is, they're hardwired.

  • TV (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Television is a kind of socialization/socializing?! WTF?!?!!
    • by tuxette (731067) *
      The real WTF is what was written on the national TV-watching average being at 2 hours. I would have thought it was much more...
      • Re:TV (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The real WTF is what was written on the national TV-watching average being at 2 hours. I would have thought it was much more...

        Remember, just like the figure for internet-users, the number for the general population is just an average. Many slashdotters don't watch TV at all, unless you count the one or two episodes a week of their favorite series they download from the internet. Then there are people who divide all their free time between TV and chatting (*cough* teenagers *cough*) who up the TV-watchin
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by code_nerd (37853) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:43AM (#11227508)
    How is watching TV "socializing"?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Crosma (798939) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:45AM (#11227536) Homepage
      It isn't. And if anything, using the Internet is more socialable than TV, because of message boards, IRC, IM, etc.
      • I don't know about anybody else, but I watch tv while I'm on the computer. My room mate and I watch tv in our room while we're sitting in front of our computers doing stuff online. So I get my recommended daily dosage of television every day right alongside my chronic internet usage. Hooray for multitasking! And hooray for being a college kid with little better to do than watch tv and be online at the same time.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by X-rated Ouroboros (526150) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:52AM (#11227584) Homepage

      They mean the psychiatric definition of "socialization"- Where you are taught the norms and mores of a society. By failing to watch TV, we're not getting the correct doses of "BUY! BUY! BUY!" (which is bad) and by using the internet, you're learning to develop your own opinions about the world (which is worse). All around antisocial behaviour from the social control and culture industries' perspective.

      Next thing you know, when internet users do watch that 1h42m of television, they might [gasp!] question the talking heads. Then where would they be?

      • Mod parent up (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        > They mean the psychiatric definition of "socialization"

        This is the kind of bunk psychiatrists push around, without consideration for reality.

        I spent 10 years being sent to a eight different psychiatrists for depression & social withdrawal, went through numerous attempts at 'socialization' before I found a good doc who diagnosed a simple vitamin B absorbtion problem, cured by injections.

        Eight psychiatrists couldn't tell the difference between someone who has symptoms of a Vitamin B deficiency and
        • You sir, have no clue what you are talking about. There is a difference between psyciatrists and psychologists (that goes much deeper than medical training), and that you apparently don't know that leaves me in serious doubt about the rest of your comment.

          That said, there are a good many medical doctors that would have done the same thing that the psychiatrists did.

          I am glad you found help, but don't be so quick to judge the state of psychiatry/psychology as bunk. There are MANY things that psychologist
        • Similarly, Psychiatry/Psychology is bunk.

          Required reading for everyone is Rosenhan's 1972 study [wikipedia.org], On Being Sane in Insane Places [free-online.co.uk]. Well known but often overlooked by psychiatrists, the experiment clearly demonstrates that in most cases, psychiatrists really have no fscking idea who is sane and who has real problems. The process of diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems is guided more by confirmatory testing -- seeking out to prove what you already believe is true. In this experiment, Rosenhan s

      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Malc (1751) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:32PM (#11228214)
        The internet fosters selfishness and impatience. I've noticed the change in myself and others.

        The internet is a medium that makes it very easy to reach out to like-minded people - this does not encourage development of one's own opinions. For this you must spend time with people who have differing opinions, which the internet doesn't encourage. This can lead to extremism and intorlerance of others. In a similar vein, a piece on 60 Minutes within the last few months documented the segregation of Americans in some places where Republicans choose to live amongst Republicans, and Democrats amongst Democrates. This has lead to a decline in debate, and increase in intolerance and extreme attitudes and a general decline in functioning democracy.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

      by nwbvt (768631)
      You've never had arguments over who should be in control of the remote, whether or not the sound is too loud or too soft, whether or not the person in control of the remote should flip back to the main program because the ads are probably about up, etc?
    • What's worse, is that following up on email is supposedly less social than watching TV. So communicating with another person, albeit not present is anti-social. Sitting and communcated at is social. Hmm. I really need one of those Newspeak-English dictionaries.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fr2asbury (462941) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:15AM (#11227730)
        OK, I want back and RTFA. TV viewing is not socializing, just something that loses time to online activities along with face-to-face socializing and sleep. This I can see. I do not think that the loss of television viewing is something that should be mourned though.
    • What a silly description to this article. Put it half the title (socializing) and then give a description about the other half (t.v.) Then watch them morph into one idea and have everyone question how one is the other. Only on /.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rick.C (626083) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:40AM (#11227887)
      How is watching TV "socializing"?

      I knocked on the front door at a friend's house once. The door opened and the whole family (minus the one who had answered the door) was sitting on or around the sofa watching TV. They were all just staring, zombie-like, at the screen.

      It was so cute!
    • Actually watching TV was a shared experience. Back in the 50's 60's 70's and ending in the 80's. Some shows where do not miss events. Thinks Lucie having little ricky, Happy days, the last MASH. a part of socialization is shared experience. With the all the Channels, DVDs, and the Internet that shared experience is shrinking. What is more interesting I feel that the Internet is causing a new lack of tollerence. It is now possible to find a group that will match each of us pretty closely. It greatly reduced
  • by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette.gmail@com> on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:43AM (#11227513) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I find the Internet very useful in planning social events, something which increases socializing time. I'm hardly less social because of it.
    • by Quasar1999 (520073) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:46AM (#11227539) Journal
      better still... I use the internet to actually socialize... It allows me to talk to 5 to 10 people at the same time much more efficiently than I could on the phone, or even in person... Bless chat programs... :)
      • Exactly! With several people chatting at once, you can discuss where to go, what to do, and agree on everything far more effectively than calling all these people and going back and forth and back and forth to the point where you don't want to be bothered and just sit home and, uh, watch TV...
  • by mortonda (5175) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:43AM (#11227517)
    I think that doing email and chatting on IRC count as more social than watching TV. At least it's a form of communication, whereas TV is just brainless.
    • Yeah, I was about to post the same thing. I might buy that it replaces some "more real"/in person socialization, but they sure picked a funny example of socialization that's being replaced. And as another poster mentioned, it's ridiculously easy to plan real-life social events online - in fact, if a friend calls and wants to set up an event for more than 2 or 3 people, I tell him to go on AIM because it's so much easier to coordinate online.
      • by ahsile (187881) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:15AM (#11227726) Homepage Journal
        I agree as well. Not only is it easier, it's less expensive! Since school ended my friends and I have all migrated to different places. Rather than all of us racking up long distance trying to call each other, we hop on the internet (which we all have a connection to anyway) and chat. Sure, we're not actually speaking to each other... but if we really wanted we could fire up the webcams and the microphones and you're set.

        (And once again...) TV is also not a social activity. I don't know how sitting around watching moving pictures constitutes socialization.
    • In the article's defense, they regarded TV watching and socializing as two different things. It was the /. editor who interpreted them as the same thing.
  • If anything, being on the internet and communicating with other people is vastly more "socializing" than staring at a television.

    Yes, I'm complaining about the summary. I read the article and I know it covers more than just TV watching, but come on here!
  • ...using the internet has seriously cut into our socializing time. We spend less time watching TV and more time using the internet and following up email.

    I was under the opinion that things like writing email or posting here on Slashdot were a bit more "socializing" than sitting in front of the TV watching a set of commercials interspersed with bits and pieces of some reality show.
  • Hot damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by savagedome (742194) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:44AM (#11227521)
    "It's a bit of a two-edged sword," said Nie. "You can't get a hug or a kiss or a smile over the Internet." Many people are still more inclined to use the telephone for contact with family, he said.

    I didn't know you could get a hug or a kiss or a smile over the phone. Time to start dialing those 900 numbers.
  • by JanneM (7445) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:45AM (#11227537) Homepage
    So, what the blurb is saying is that people are communicating with people instead of watching television - and that is seen as cutting socializing time?

    And disregarding the slashdot blurb, if this is communicating with friends using IM or email, rather than by phone (as seems to be the case among people I know), how is that in any ways worse?

    • So, what the blurb is saying is that people are communicating with people instead of watching television - and that is seen as cutting socializing time?

      In my experience, lots of (older) people don't seem to take socializing over the 'Net as "real". Especially if you're never in physical proximity to whoever you're socializing with, then it's even farther out of their league.

      And disregarding the slashdot blurb, if this is communicating with friends using IM or email, rather than by phone (as seems to be
  • ...but that's why I use it.
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:47AM (#11227551)
    Thanks to Instant Messaging...

    omg lol kthxbye
  • Oh, please (Score:5, Funny)

    by welshwaterloo (740554) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:47AM (#11227552)
    "The study, titled "What Do Americans Do on the Internet?".. "

    We can only presume the pages of the report are stuck together..

  • From th article:
    According to the study, an hour of time spent using the Internet reduces face-to-face contact with friends, co-workers and family by 23.5 minutes, lowers the amount of time spent watching television by 10 minutes and shortens sleep by 8.5 minutes.
    Looks like a good way to gain about 18 minutes/hour...
    • Okay, you're probably not serious and I'm probably being way TOO serious, but let's correct the fallacy here: spending an hour on the internet does not completely alleviate the desire to spend time with friends and family, so if you go work on the net for an hour, you'll maybe spend a chunk of another hour when you would have been working solitarily or sleeping instead doing the things mentioned in the study.
  • by Beolach (518512) <beolach@NoSPam.juno.com> on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:52AM (#11227585) Homepage Journal
    Internet users watch television for one hour and 42 minutes a day, compared with the national average of two hours.
    IMO, that's not that big of a difference. And it's really sad. Is there really 1 3/4 - 2 hours of TV worth watching *every day*? I don't own a TV tuner of any type. Don't miss it at all. If I did have a TV, I'm afraid I would get a lot closer to that 'national average' than I want. It's just way too easy to veg out. I remember times when I'd look at the clock, and think "What the #$%* have I been doing for the last hour and a half? None of that was worth watching."
    • Thank you, sir.

      For a moment, I thought we might have a Slashdot article that referenced TV, without a condescending "I DON'T EVEN OWN A TV" response.

      Bless you!
    • I threw out my TV back in 1997 when I found myself watching the Cuttlery Show of a Friday night because it was the best thing on.

      Now I use the internet to communicate (like this!) and I gained a life, my own.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Friday December 31, 2004 @10:53AM (#11227587) Homepage Journal
    I watch as much TV, if not more, than ever before. However, due to wi-fi and having a tiny notebook, I can now sit and work/write/do research with the TV in the background, which means my TV watching is semi-productive. I tend to leave the TV on Sky News or something.

    Having the Internet to hand makes TV more fun, as you can look up movie trivia on IMDB, or get indepth information on things you've just heard in a documentary. I find it hard watching TV on its own now without playing on the Internet at the same time. TV is a great background activity, though not a good foreground one, IMHO.
    • I find it hard watching TV on its own now without playing on the Internet at the same time. TV is a great background activity, though not a good foreground one, IMHO.

      I gave up owning a TV for that very same reason. TV's informational value is pretty low when you factor in that most of TV's content is uninteresting to me personally (TV is one of the most wasteful uses of bandwidth I can imagine). I vastly prefer getting my information from the web, because there I only get that information that directly co
  • Newsflash! Someone hates something and comes up with a study to prove how bad it is.

    Rock music, TV, video games, and now internet. Surprise!
  • The original survey is here at the NYT [nytimes.com] (must sacrifice virgin goat to view article). However, I soon realized the CNET article is the NYT article, so that doesn't matter. Anyways...

    From the article:

    "However, the researchers said they had now gathered further evidence showing that in addition to its impact on television viewing, Internet use has lowered the amount of time people spend socializing with friends and even sleeping [my emphasis]. According to the study, an hour of time spent using the Internet

    • by topham (32406)
      Reduces solcializing by 23.5 minutes, watching tv by 10 minutes and shortens sleep by 8.5 minutes, leaving a net gain of 18 minutes a day.

      So, does this mean for every hour I play on the Internet I get 18 minutes added to my day? I'd say that's a bonus.

      As for the socializing, yeah, uh-huh whatever. Didn't do it before the Internet, thats what MMORGs are for.

  • A few days ago, I gave my PC to my friend in exchange for speakers for my DVD/mp3 player. I found it so easy to do everything virtually that I ended up never doing anything actually. My GPA sucks now (in comparison) because I'd end up staying on the computer about five hours longer than I meant to and I'd forget to study. I think the internet cuts socializing time because it's even LESS work than sitting on a couch staring with your friends.
    • A few days ago, I gave my PC to my friend in exchange for speakers for my DVD/mp3 player.

      See how much you've achieved in just those few days! You've managed to hack your DVD/mp3 player to be able to post to Slashdot!

      Well done! Nice hack.
  • It doesn't cut into the socializing time; that's what IM and e-mail is for, and unless you're on >=56K, you're not missing any phone calls either.

    That, and I'd rather spend five weeks on the Internet and see as many ads in that time as I'd see in five minutes watching television (thanks, Adblock and Firefox).
  • Slashdot is hardly a television show, now is it?
  • Is e-mail not also a way to communicate hence being social?
  • "People don't understand that time is hydraulic," he said, meaning that time spent on the Internet is time taken away from other activities.

    Perhaps it's because hydraulic [reference.com] is a stupid word to use in that sentence.


    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekunokurato (531385) <jackphelps@gmail.com> on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:08AM (#11227676) Homepage
    I also question the premise that watching TV is socializing. It's a passive activity and most people have the bare minimum of conversation or interaction while watching. When I was in high school, my mother would always demand that I get off my computer and spend time with the family, expressly considering TV to be "family time." Bullshit. I was interacting with people on boards and through e-mail and the rare blog back in the day, and my interactivity (not to mention intellectual exercise) stopped utterly when I had to go sit on the couch.
  • by EvilStein (414640) <{spam} {at} {pbp.net}> on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:09AM (#11227678) Homepage
    I definately spend less time watching TV (shows) because I grab ad-free versions off the net. That'll shave off 15 minutes from each show right there.

    Two TV shows without adverts and I have a half hour of my life back.

  • Less TV != Less Socializing nor does More Internet mean More Socializing.

    If you watch less TV and spend time in chat room and forums, you are actually socializing more with other people ( /. may or may not be included ).

    When you watch TV, do you watch it with other people? If you do, do you talk to them while the show is on...probably not. But if you are on the internet talking to people in a forum, more than likely you are also watching your email, IM other people, or have another chat/forum open. Y

  • As far as I'm concerned, discussing news for nerds with fellow geeks on slashdot is socializing.
    • ...there seem to be a fair amount of people who met each other on slashdot and are now good friends in real life. If that's not being social, well, then, OK, whatever...
  • define socializing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by {tele}machus_*1 (117577) * on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:14AM (#11227723) Journal
    The majority of time that I spend on the internet is spent communicating with others in some way. I would think that sending email and participating in forum discussions qualify as socializing. Heck, even the time I spend playing WoW counts as socializing, IMO, because I am in constant contact with my guildmates.

    Television is an entirely one-way connection: you watch it. Even if you happen to be sitting in a room with other people, if everyone is watching the TV, no one is actually socializing with anyone else.

    And furthermore, DUR! What a brilliant study: hey, guess what I figured out, if you spend time doing something, you can't spend that same time doing something else. Somebody give me a grant!
  • by robyannetta (820243) * on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:15AM (#11227731) Homepage
    ...maybe that's what we want? Not everyone's life is fairy-tale perfect, ya know.
  • The article cited three things that Internet use causes people to cut back time doing. The largest was face-to-face socializing. Television viewing came in second and last was sleep. Although the summary made it seem that television viewing and socializing were equated, that was not the case in the article.
  • by minairia (608427) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:29AM (#11227811)
    I completely disagree with the gist of this article. On-line game playing, reading and responding to e-mails, IM, etc. are forms of socializing, much more than staring blindly at the TV. My family lives overseas; with IM and e-mail, I communicate with them at a much more constant, intense, intimate level now than when I was a kid sitting around the family room with us all in the same house. In those days, we'd all wind up veged in front of the TV paying more attention to it than each other. As for friends, I'll always have one or two or more long running IM chats going, sometimes they heat up, other times they do quiet for a while but I am socially in contact with different people all day, instead of just a few minutes on the phone. Also, the article doesn't even mention that, while doing stuff on the net, I (and most people I know) have the TV droning on in the background anyway.
  • Not So True (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rie Beam (632299) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:29AM (#11227812) Journal
    I recently struck it up with a very nice man from Nigeria...
  • Internet use blamed for daily television viewing drop of 18 minutes


    Shouldn't it just say, "Home computer use up since birth of Internet" or "Internet usage up since Net becomes more interactive"? It doesn't matter anyway, my life is in complete ruins and I blow the bell curve. I watch more television since getting cable and DVR, and my Internet has increased as well. My work attendance average is what suffers...

  • What kind of nonsense is that?

    The next thing they'll try to say is that slashdot readers are nerds, or that we're not smooth with the women.
  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:48AM (#11227948)
    I even watch 1 hour and 42 minutes of TV a week much less that much per day. I get home, and bam into gameland. Chat with friends, mix music. Why on earth would I want to rot my brains, when I can use the internet to learn and stimulate my brain.
  • We spend less time watching TV ....

    Thank God! Maybe there's home for mankind after all ....

    -kgj
  • TV = Social? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lilmouse (310335) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:02PM (#11228033)
    Since when did sitting in front of a TV count as social time?

    --LWM
  • true (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zareste (761710) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:03PM (#11228044) Homepage
    Oh yeah, definitely. I'm way too busy talking to people in IMs, e-mails, message boards, chat rooms, and IRC, to socialize with anyone.
  • by crovira (10242) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:06PM (#11228053) Homepage
    Unless you meant to imply that we are SUPPOSED to be mindless robots who follow hours of sitting in front of the tube with gathering at malls consuming crap.

    TV is far less of a participatory (McLuhan's cool-to-hot [print-to-television]) medium than the internet (including downloading P0rn!)

    In McLuhanistic terms, web browsing on /. is "media on fire".
  • Marketing Research (Score:5, Informative)

    by Migraineman (632203) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:23PM (#11228143)
    I RTFA'd, and I thought it was odd that the article leads off with "a study says internet use impacts TV viewing." Well, duh. So I looked at the report's company website - Knowledge Networks. [knowledgenetworks.com] They're a bunch of Stanford professors who build a product marketing research company. Ah, there's the connection. They wrote a report that says "folks are using the internet - your TV advertising is less effective." Makes more sense now. You might consider this report to be an advert for their Syndicated Products. [knowledgenetworks.com] After all, if you're in Product Marketing, you need professional study info and long-term trend analysis info to back up your current crop of wild-assed guesses, right?
  • Spending time doing one thing reduces time available for other things. Shock! Horror!
  • by antdude (79039) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:38PM (#11228258) Homepage Journal
    For me, Internet made me socialize due to my speech and hearing impediments. It is a lot easier to communicate online and I get to meet all kinds of people. I love the Internet. I could live without TV.
  • A Good Thing, IMHO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:59PM (#11228414) Homepage Journal
    This is positive. Following up email means that people are actually communicating with each other, whereas television generally meant the opposite.

    With only a few notable exceptions, I have tended to long be of the opinion that television has been probably the single most worthless and negative piece of technology invented thus far...and its one claim at redemption IMHO could be the statement that it was a stop on the journey to the invention of the computer monitor.

    Even at its most banal, the Internet is generally still encouraging some degree of both literacy and interactivity from its users. The "idiot box" on the other hand, is richly deserving of the term. It has been proven that in some cases a person's level of neurological activity is higher during sleep than it is while watching television.

    The obsolescence of television, if it occurs, is not an event that I will waste any time mourning whatsoever...and I am in fact inclined to believe that if the universal death of television were to take place tomorrow, an intellectual rennaisance of unparalleled scope would almost certainly take place in the weeks, months, and years to follow.
  • by kuzb (724081) on Friday December 31, 2004 @03:07PM (#11229161)
    I don't know about you, but I backed that off to 0 hours and 0 minutes a day. The problem isn't with the internet displacing TV. The problem is with TV no longer being interesting.

    Lets face it, the content gets more and more mindless, and the commercials get longer - TV is cutting it's own throat with this one.

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