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Internet Not the Social Hinder it Was 173

imjustatomato writes "A 1998 study showed that the Internet causes declines in social relationships and isolation, similarly to how television causes social disengagement and bad moods. This is the 'Internet Paradox' because while the internet is heavily used for communication, it makes people lonelier. However, a more recent study shows that now the internet has a positive effect on social and psychological well-being. This is even more so for those who have more social support and are extroverted in nature. Interestingly, frequent Internet use is associated with a decline in local knowledge and interest in living in the local area."
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Internet Not the Social Hinder it Was

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  • Staring (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Threni ( 635302 )
    > Interestingly, frequent Internet use is associated with a decline in local knowledge and interest
    > in living in the local area."

    Anything which involves sitting indoors and staring at a box is likely to decrease your knowledge of your immediate environment, isn't it?
    • Re:Staring (Score:5, Insightful)

      by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:20AM (#16022719) Homepage Journal
      I dont know, I live in London and have such a large local area that most of the time I dont know what is where. The Internet has helped out a lot, from casual browsing of online mapping services to see what is just outside the immediate area, to sites like up my street [upmystreet.com] which lets me find any businesses near me. I have learned a lot more about my area from the Internet than I have by just going out and exploring (which I do fairly often as well).
    • Re:Staring (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Crysalim ( 936188 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:44AM (#16022796) Homepage
      Quite the opposite. You can learn a great deal from staring at that "box" in your room. Those people at the City Hall (or bar, or restaurant, or whatever fictional place people need to "get outside and go to") wouldn't be able to tell you about the current situation on definition of planets, or the state of affairs in Israel/Lebanon.

      Those people are too busy superficially socializing and killing brain cells to drown out the idea that there's something more to life than what other people's preconceived notions are.

      Then again, staring at this box has taught me one extremely valuable lesson - people will say anything, even if it is meaningless, in order to get a first post (and the inevitable mod points following it).
      • Those people are too busy superficially socializing and killing brain cells to drown out the idea that there's something more to life than what other people's preconceived notions are.

        Those people may not know the latest definition of a planet, or the current state of affairs in the middle east, but they are meeting with, and interacting with, other people in a very real way. It seems to me that it's you who needs to get a life, and find out that there's a vast amount more to it than the definition of a p

      • by kjart ( 941720 )

        Quite the opposite. You can learn a great deal from staring at that "box" in your room. Those people at the City Hall (or bar, or restaurant, or whatever fictional place people need to "get outside and go to") wouldn't be able to tell you about the current situation on definition of planets, or the state of affairs in Israel/Lebanon.

        Yeah, he said immediate environment, genius. Though if you lived in Israel/Lebanon you probably wouldn't have to go outside to know what's going on.

      • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @10:09AM (#16024144) Journal
        Then again, staring at this box has taught me one extremely valuable lesson - people will say anything, even if it is meaningless, in order to get a first post (and the inevitable mod points following it).


        Heh. You needed the Internet to learn that? No offense, but I'd have thought that anyone who's ever went to (high) school, had any work that doesn't only involve telecommuting, or, really, went out of the house at all, had witnessed the RL-equivalent of karma-whoring. People want to be perceived as part of the group, well liked, cool, fashionable, etc, and will go to insane (and often bloody stupid) extremes to achieve that.

        It even has an impact on polls and statistics, as you have to skew your poll to account for the facts that:

        - if it seems that the interviewer wants a particular answer, they'll give that answer, just to be liked. So if you actually want a fair result, you have to go to great lengths to make sure that the question sounds as neutral as it the English language allows. (Or, conversely, if you want to skew the statistics to your ends, you just need to give people a strong indication that only a monster would pick the other choices.)

        - all else being equal, people tend to answer "yes" more than they answer "no". (Presumably because being too negative is perceived as something bad or non-social.) So you have to actually have randomized tests, where the same question is asked in one way on some forms (e.g., "are you for continuing the war in Iraq?") and as the opposite on others (e.g., "are you for stopping the war in Iraq?")

        - as anthropologists showed, even when you accounted for the above two, if you ask people anything about themselves, the result will be basically a lie. Well, not as in a deliberate, conscious-level lie, but more like distorted through the need to perceive themselves as doing the right and, most importantly, the socially-acceptable thing. _Very_ few will give you an answer that, according to the current social standards, would ammount to a "yes, I'm an asshole" confession, even if the poll is completely anonymous and confidential.

        Or you can see that at smaller levels, and sometimes even at petty levels, from high school to your everyday work. People ostracize person X, just because they want to fit in a group where the popular ones are against person X. People pretend to be stupid in school, just because in nowadays' broken culture it's _cool_ to be stupid and ignorant, and is waay uncool to show any academic effort or ability. (And god forbid showing _interest_.) Etc.

        The most perverse form of that is "groupthink". Take a dozen people which, each of them separately, are against doing X. Put them in a group where they each think that the rest of the group is _for_ X. Watch them all vote/chest-thump/shout-slogans/whatever for X, just to please the rest of the group, and take a decision as a group that neither of them actually really wanted. It's more common than you'd think, and affects a wide range of groups, from small cliques at work to government commissions to whole countries.

        Etc, etc, etc.

        So let's just say that Slashdot's karma-whoring is actually just representative of society as a whole. In fact, compared to some RL counterparts, let me assure you that the worst /. karma-whores would come out looking as the milder version.
        • "People pretend to be stupid in school, just because in nowadays' broken culture it's _cool_ to be stupid and ignorant, and is waay uncool to show any academic effort or ability"

          Says you! I always pretended to be stupid in school to throw off suspicion and catch people off guard. Not to mention people dont ask you as many annoying questions if they think you are dumb. Infact I do this in real life as well. The coolness is just an aftereffect.

          I'm basically exactly like keyser soze.
      • by kabocox ( 199019 )
        Then again, staring at this box has taught me one extremely valuable lesson - people will say anything, even if it is meaningless, in order to get a first post (and the inevitable mod points following it).

        Life is all about mod points and meta moding. Physical life is more about moding with social points though.
      • by daniil ( 775990 )
        hose people at the City Hall (or bar, or restaurant, or whatever fictional place people need to "get outside and go to") wouldn't be able to tell you about the current situation on definition of planets, or the state of affairs in Israel/Lebanon. Those people are too busy superficially socializing and killing brain cells to drown out the idea that there's something more to life than what other people's preconceived notions are.

        I think you're wrong. You're wrong in thinking that these (that is, the state of
    • I met quite a few local people via Flickr [flickr.com].
    • So basically, in 1998 most of the intraverted geeks were interested in the internet, and thus the internet was an antisocial activity. And now the extraverts are getting on board...
      • And now the extraverts are getting on board...

        ...And new aspects of the internet have been evolving to engage these extraverts.

        Which also benefits us intraverts. I'm now aware of many more local activities than I used to be. For instance, I participated in a group bicycle ride last weekend (of about 1,000 people) that I would never have been aware of if I hadn't been lurking on a bike-oriented local news list. Had a fun time. Actually talked with half a dozen strangers at the watering stations.

    • I dont agree 100%- I believe the internet can supplement knowledge of your local area. Case in point- I use the internet to find new places to ride my bike. With google maps I can scout out new trails. I have found new places in my own environment (The Cuyahoga Valley national Recreation Area) in a few clicks that would have taken me years to discover by just wandering around. And although this may make me an uber-geek, when I miss a point of interest sign while riding my bike, I can read it online later.
      I
  • by Don_dumb ( 927108 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:46AM (#16022610)
    . . . "we are going to go to where the internet is really good."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RuBLed ( 995686 )
      ..."No daddy, basement is good and the raid would start at 18:00 GMT and I have to give this item to xXxMrPiratexXx cause it's his birthday today."
  • interest in leaving (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Dark Caller ( 801115 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:47AM (#16022614) Homepage
    I find the bit about less local interest interesting as I know that I had little desire to leave Tennessee until I began surfing the internet regularly, meeting people from other places and reading about them on online news sites. Indeed, the first time I truly wanted to leave my state came when I 'dated' a girl online. . . and it's thanks to internet research that I ended up here at Boston U. Naturally curious person enabled by the net, or innocent Southern boy corrupted by the tubes'o'satan?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or is it just a case of "grass is greener" syndrome?
    • by kjart ( 941720 )

      or innocent Southern boy corrupted by the tubes'o'satan?

      So that was you that clogged the tubes with your "love".

    • by kabocox ( 199019 )
      Indeed, the first time I truly wanted to leave my state came when I 'dated' a girl online. . . and it's thanks to internet research that I ended up here at Boston U. Naturally curious person enabled by the net, or innocent Southern boy corrupted by the tubes'o'satan?

      You weren't corrupted by the net; you were tempted by the age old passion of physical time with the oppsite sex!
  • 2002 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skinnyrake ( 918686 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:48AM (#16022617) Homepage
    The most recent of the two articles was published in 2002. Is this really relevant to the internet of 2006?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's not relevant since they couldn't count WoW players in their study!
    • Seriously, we were still using Web 1.0 back then...
      • Wha? There's a new version out? When did this happen, my Firefox didn't notify me of an update! Damn, it's going to take ages to download the new internets with my slow 1 Mbps ADSL. :(
  • Diversity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:49AM (#16022620)
    The data are from 208 members of 93 Pittsburgh families, to whom we provided a
    computer and access to the Internet in 1995 or 1996. The families were recruited through four
    high school journalism programs and four community development organizations in 8 Pittsburgh
    neighborhoods. The sample was more demographically diverse than was typical of Internet users
    at the time.
    OK, great they are more demographically diverse. But they are hardly socially diverse. If the study is going to pick journalism students and community development groups they are probably going to find people who are already quite extroverted. This certainly doesn't disprove the idea that introverted people will become more introverted because with the Internet they no longer have to interact as much in society.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      Also, I have to question any study that deigns to correlate interest in "local affairs" against anything when the statistical population is entirely from PITTSBURG!


      (j/k - I'm from the UK)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...since 1998 the internet has helped make available viagra for all!
  • Quick hypothesis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SamSim ( 630795 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:51AM (#16022629) Homepage Journal
    I'm gonna guess that the main difference here that in 1998, internet relationships weren't counted as "real" relationships.
    • by radtea ( 464814 )
      'm gonna guess that the main difference here that in 1998, internet relationships weren't counted as "real" relationships.

      Or it could possibly be that both the previous negative and current positive effects are small, and have been overly-hyped by the press. Looking at the article, I notice something to the effect of "barely statistically significant".

      Remember, a 2 sigma effect is suprious about 3% of the time, and so if a hundred studies are done by psychologists on the effect of the internets, 3 are cert
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:54AM (#16022634)
    One of the answers might relate to the definition of social and psychological well-being. For example; in 1998 if someone said to have numerous online friends, they where looked upon as anti-social and unable to make friend in the real world. This is beginning to change.
    • by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:23AM (#16022737) Homepage Journal
      This is very true, and still true amongst non-Internet users as well. I have had some funny looks from luddites in the past when refering to Internet friends (though more often than not they are more sincerely curious about how one goes about making friends on the Internet)
      • by indifferent children ( 842621 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @06:35AM (#16023056)
        they are more sincerely curious about how one goes about making friends on the Internet

        You pop into a chat room and announce, "I'm a cute, lonely 13 year old girl." The friends practically make themselves.

        • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @10:45AM (#16024416) Journal
          That's one thing I don't really get: the mentality some people have that the only way to make online friends, or to succeed in a MMO, or whatever, is dependent on pretending to be a horny female teenager.

          Somehow it doesn't even add up. The most popular people I've met on MUDs and MMOs for example, were playing male characters, and were the people with a memorable personality one way or another. They might have been the guy who played for ever and knows every single secret lever, or the guy who was the most involved in the community, or the most helpful newbie-helper, or the most (nauseatingly) consistent full-time role-player, or in one case simply the biggest asshole on the MUD. (But always very careful to not break any rules, so the admins never could quite justify outright banning him, even if they were _very_ irritated by him too.) You'd be surprised at the number of fans one can have by simply being the biggest asshole and full-time ganker on the server.

          But the opposite works just as well, and in fact much better when you're low level and in no position to be an asshole. You'd be surprised how many people will remember you just because you were nice, helpful, and able to function in a group. Heck, even just being the polite newbie who knows how to ask politely and doesn't try to sound like an "I have 7 level 60 characters, you noob, I just forgot where Stormwind is" clown, you'd be surprised how it does get enough people trying to help. Some of us actually _like_ babysitting a polite newbie. Remember to say "thanks" at the end, and you may well be on the way to making a friend.

          If anyone finds it necessary to play the "I'm a cute, lonely 13 year old girl" card to get any "friends" or any online help, then I'd advise them to take a good look critical look at their own personality and approach to human relationships, because that's where the real problem lies.
      • more often than not they are more sincerely curious about how one goes about making friends on the Internet

        Duh. You do it just like in real life:

        With your credit card.

        Right?

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:02AM (#16022658)
    For goodness sake, this is pushing it a bit far, reporting on 5 year old papers. In other latest news from 2002 - New Orleans happy with flood defences, Lebanese economy doing well with current peaceful regional politics, British Airways relaxes security on air travel a year after 9/11 .... sigh ! :-)
    • I know you were joking, but just yesterday for a laugh I went on the Wayback Machine's archive of BBC News...one of the first headlines was about Israel kicking the shit out of Lebanon...creepy if nothing else.
  • There's nothing much in the so-called study, merely an assertion of what's in the headline. The summary and the linked article are almost the same. The only thing noteworthy was, another article from this page appeared on Slashdot recently as well... something to do with "When can I get my email?" or something like that.

    Slow news day?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bky1701 ( 979071 )
      Slow news day?
      If the news was slow, it'd be more easy to catch.

      Sorry, slow news calls for bad jokes.
  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:04AM (#16022664) Homepage
    frequent Internet use is associated with a decline in local knowledge and interest in living in the local area.

    Which of course is not really a negative at all. "The internets" doesn't cause disaffection, it just shows you all the alternatives out there for all those already not happy where they live. No one community is a great place to live in for everybody after all. If it helps you find a place you'll like better it's just good for everyone.

    Also, the ability to have contact with diverse groups no matter where you're physically residing probably helps smooth the rough edges out of living anywhere. If you can cultivate your interests over the net, staying in your community may not chafe as much as it would have done in an earlier era.
    • by Eivind ( 15695 ) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @06:11AM (#16022978) Homepage
      Sure. In the absence of affordable communication and transport, the local environment is all there is, so you'll spend 100% of your time interacting only with your local environment.

      The moment you get newspapers, radio or television, you start becoming *aware* that there's a larger world out there. But it's still one-way, you don't interact with this world, you only receive information from it.

      With cheap travel, internet and telephone you are directly in contact with a lot that isn't in your immediate surrounding.

      I know people in atleast 2 dozen countries. I've got *friends* living on other continents. People I talk to every week (sometimes every day), people I care about. Offcourse this means that I spend *less* time with the "local environment". When the starting-point was 100% local, how could this go any other direction than downwards ?

      You don't need to make it global either. It's the same on a much smaller scale.

      When my great-grandmother was small, (aprox 100 years ago) it was completely unpractical to have friends even 10 miles away. Sure you'd *know* some people living that far away, but communicating with them in any way meant either spending 2 hours for transport, or if you didn't need face-to-face, write a letter and wait several days for an answer.

      The world is shrinking.

      I'm closer to my friends in oh say Texas (Hallo Nadine!) (I live in Norway) in every way that matters than my grandmother was to her boyfriend (later husband) that lived about 50 miles away.

      • I can trivially, and at zero cost talk to her whenever I want. 100 years ago that wasn't possible in rural Norway at all. For large expense (a days pay) a telegram could be sent that'd arrive the same day.
      • I can send her email, and she'll receive it minutes later. 100 years ago a letter would be expensive, and would take on the order of a week to arrive.
      • I can visit her. It takes like 10 hours of travel, and costs on the order of 1 weeks pay. 100 years ago the 50 miles took on the order of 15 hours by horse and boat.
      • I can even send her physical packets, and have them arrive quicker and cheaper than the 50 miles back then.

      In every way that matters *Texas* is closer to western Norway today than two different villages 50 miles from oneanother where 100 years ago.

  • by Djatha ( 848102 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:08AM (#16022683)

    I don't want to say things about open doors here, but the two arguments in the article why nowadays the internet is not the social hinder any more are obvious. These arguments are : 0) the internet has got more different ways of communication; 1) the internet population has grown to include almost everyone.

    First of all, for the people already on the net in 1998, these new communication methods were already there (more or less). Instant messaging, dating and community sites are not that new on the net. Furthermore, that almost the whole society has switched to the internet resulted in bringing normal connections between people to the internet. That is, the internet as such is in the first research something special, something for a small group of (nerdic) people. In the second research, the internet is normal, it is part of life and as such, it is accepted by both researchers and subjects of research.

    With respect to the the grass is greener on the other side syndrome, I think it is nonsense. Most normal people I know, use the internet to find information on local events, to communicate with 'local' relatives and friends. On the other hand, the other side, where the grass is supposed to be greener, has changed in similar ways as this side. As a result, the local environment has grown to include both sides. I mean, the situation in my town is similar to the situation in the next town.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rvw ( 755107 )
      >> 1) the internet population has grown to include almost everyone.

      I would even dare to say it includes more than "everyone". For many people with disabilities it opened a complete new world. I know several people with severe anxieties who now have a social live because of internet fora, msn, social networks like Hyves, etc. In "normal", everyday live, you don't see these people (outdoors, at work, etc), and therefor many people don't know that they exist.
    • Your point about the subjects of the 1998 study being a relatively small group of enthusiasts and the 2002 study including almost "everyone" is exactly right. Plus the fact that there were so many more places "to go" in 2002.

      It's kind of like comparing people's driving habits in 1915 and 1950. In 1915, only a small percentage of people had cars or drove, and most roads were local. But by 1950 most families had a car and at least one person in the family could drive, and roads were connecting neighboring t

  • by Chatsubo ( 807023 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:12AM (#16022697)
    "Unlike regional newspapers, for example, the Internet makes news about distant cities as accessible as news about one's hometown."

    But also, we read about the cool things other places are doing on places like slashdot. Of course, we're not interested in all the BAD news about those places. Because the crime news about other places more or less matches that of our own. Maybe that's why the grass looks greener. Because we see all the positive and negative of our own environment, but only the "cool" stuff going on in other places. So naturally we want to go there.
    • Maybe that's why the grass looks greener. Because we see all the positive and negative of our own environment, but only the "cool" stuff going on in other places. So naturally we want to go there.

      on the other hand, the world is just full of interesting things places and people. it puts your own little world in perspective. I don't get the grass-is-greener thing at all; don't be satisfied with what you have and where you are just because that's what you have and where you grew up. Get up and go see all the

    • ... because different people have different definitions of "green".

      Seriously, there is nothing that's "one size fits all", and that goes for places, events, other people, clothing, food, etc.

      - Some people actually like the rural/suburb communities, with their cliques, gossip, and all good and bad parts. Some of us are introverts and not interested in neighbourhood gossip/influence/power games at all, and thus may feel actually better in a large town where you're an anonymous nobody in a crowd.

      - Some people
  • Hinder is not a noun (Score:5, Informative)

    by tez_h ( 263659 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:12AM (#16022700) Homepage Journal
    'Hinder' is a verb. The noun form is 'hindrance'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by chawly ( 750383 )
      Hindrance is an accepted noun, but so is hinder. Hinder is used as a verb also - as in, "thunderstorms sometimes hinder shuttle launching" but the form "thunderstorms are a hinder to launching the shuttle is perfectly acceptable". Of course the form "sitting and typing shit like this is a hindrance to getting any productive work done" is both perfectly acceptable and perfectly true - and we shouldn't forget it.
      • Is it fuck a noun. Unless they've changed all the dictionaries in the last few minutes hinder is a verb and only a verb.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:13AM (#16022704)
    I was painfully shy as a teenager. Was terrified of approaching people in general to talk to them and would avoid most social situations at all costs - I guess I had what psychologists would call a social anxiety disorder. I couldn't even post in an internet forum without the fear of humiliation.

    Yet it was the internet where I dared post before I ever tried to contribute in such a way in a real life situations. The more I interacted online, the more comfortable (and confident) I felt doing the same in reallife to the point where I can approach strangers and start conversation.

    *Shrugs* Maybe it was the internet or just getting older, as I realize this process happens to a lot of people who were extremely shy/self-conscious as teenagers. But there is no comparing the internet to TV, the TV is a passive medium, the internet is interactive. The only danger I see is when people start substituting the internet for real life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by legoburner ( 702695 )
      Since you will probably get a lot of crappy replies to your post, I feel I should make a public service announcement by showing Penny Arcade's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com].
    • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:50AM (#16022810)
      For me too, it was a similar situation, very shy in real life, it was lots easier for me on the Internet.

      I couldn't even post in an internet forum without the fear of humiliation.

      But unlike real life, you can stay as anonymous as you want in a forum. And withdraw if things turn really sour.

      Moreover, most forums have a subject, and if you that subject is sth which you really like (such as computer, Linux, etc.), you don't need to worry about boring people with it, because all other participants are in that forum because they have the same interest.

      So the more I interacted in forums (or rather, Usenet newsgroups, at that time), the more confidence I built for "real life".

      Maybe it was the internet or just getting older

      Most definately the internet helped. At least in my case.

      And the best part: you can also find resources about shyness and what to do about it on the Internet.

      And about certain "other" personal traits as well ;-)

      as I realize this process happens to a lot of people who were extremely shy/self-conscious as teenagers

      And the same thing happens with that "other" personal trait too. Whereas in the olden days, some people waited until they were 50 to make that important announcement, today they feel quite comfortable about it in highschool.

      But there is no comparing the internet to TV, the TV is a passive medium, the internet is interactive.

      As TV is by nature a broadcast medium, it can only cater to the majority, and not to special interests.

      The only danger I see is when people start substituting the internet for real life.

      But the good thing is when they use it as a stepping stone into the real life, which they otherwise might not have. Not just by providing chat rooms, but also by providing lots of informational resources that show you how to change those traits that can be changed, and how to accept and stand up for those traits than cannot be changed.

      • Except I have speech and hearing impediments due to my disabilities. BBS and Internet opened up a new world for communications.
    • I have social anxiety as well. It was pretty bad for a while after I lost my job. I became a hermit living off savings (lump sum 401k) for a while. Even going into convenience stores was hard. But I remained social on the internet, and aware of what was going on in the world, even if I didn't know about the new stores going up around town in rural VT, or a damn thing about local politics.

      Returning to the real world was much easier because while I didn't keep up with what was going on locally, I was still ve
  • by Ryano ( 2112 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:16AM (#16022713) Homepage
    The Internet is obviously still something of a "linguistic hinder".
  • by gettingbraver ( 987276 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:21AM (#16022723)
    And I would rather be online than talk to some of my loser neighbors. And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.
    • by kjart ( 941720 )

      And I would rather be online than talk to some of my loser neighbors

      This is your neighbor: I agree.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        This is your neighbor:
        Mark this day down in history!! You're not on a porn site?
        • by kjart ( 941720 )

          You're not on a porn site?

          Dont be so hasty.....there is this thing called Tabbed Browsing and lets just say it took a long time to type that.

  • Quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jolterhead ( 995713 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:29AM (#16022755) Homepage
    Marcus Tullius Cicero once said:
    A room without books is like a body without a soul
    I can't see why "books" can't be replaced by "internet access".
    • Perhaps because the content available on the internet is different than in books in a few meaningful ways. Most non-web content is realtime or near realtime interpersonal communication (like VoIP, IRC or email). Most web content, including archives, only dates back to the mid-1990s at best. That's very different from books that journal history, the human condition, or creative fiction over many centuries.

      Or perhaps because as a medium, the internet is still too immature to displace a medium that has exis
      • Yeah, whatever. I read about history and archaeology all the time on Wikipedia and other sites. Heck, some of Wikipedia is copied directly out of the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Project Gutenberg has many, many historical books online.
  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:32AM (#16022765) Homepage Journal
    ... and commitment is based on sacrifice of your time, which means half of the time communicating when your friend needs it. People immediately feel that you are communicating only when you feel like communicating, not when your friend needs to pour their positive or negative emotions. Internet is all about communicating only when you need to communicate.
  • This is even more so for those who have more social support and are extroverted in nature.

    Weird. I'd think that the introverted (who would be too shy to go out into bars, but comfortable enough to participate in a chatroom) who would benefit most.

    What kind of social support would an extrovert gain from the Internet, he has already all he needs "in real life"?

    Interestingly, frequent Internet use is associated with a decline in local knowledge and interest in living in the local area.

    Well given that the

    • I for instance am naturally introverted in nature, but I'm quite able to go to bars and the like without feelings of anxiety and I'm not shy. I however don't particularly value the type of conversation with the type of people you meet in bars. Chit chat bores me silly. People and their inanities can be very tiresome.

       
      • Introversion isn't shyness

        I know. However, they often (but obviously not always...) come together.

        I however don't particularly value the type of conversation with the type of people you meet in bars. Chit chat bores me silly.

        Well, it's supposed to be a door-opener to further discussion (about more interesting subjects) or "activities" (let's not go into details here...). A way of "protocol negotiation" to find out where the heck common interests may lie (of course if there aren't any common interests t

        • it's supposed to be a door-opener to further discussion

          I thought it was supposed to be an attempt to get laid.
  • "A 1998 study showed that the Internet causes declines in social relationships and isolation, similarly to how television causes social disengagement and bad moods."

    Whilst I'm often 'accused' of living a solitary and isolated life, spending much of my time at home watching TV or chatting/surfing on the Internet or playing online games, I certainly don't feel that it has isolated me OR caused me to suffer from disengagement or bad moods. Quite the contrary infact. I've made many online 'friends' and when I

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @05:16AM (#16022868)
    So we have 2 studies, one shows one effect and the other shows the opposite.

    There's simply no basis for drawing conclusions here. while it's quite entertaining to talk about this, it would be a big mistake to actually think that either of these studies mean anything.

    I'm pretty sure that if you did a few more studies, you could get some that confirm and some that refute the idea that internet use leads to/cure social isolation.

    To quote a wise man:

    "The only possible conclusion the social sciences can draw is: some do, some don't."

    - Ernest Rutherford

  • The internet helps make it painfully obvious how much greener the grass might be on the other side by presenting the user(s) with comprehensive and detailed local info about practically anywhere. It makes wherever you currently are not seem as rosy... especially if where you currently are is someplace that would make a person WANT to be on the internet a lot.
  • I think that a lot of "social interaction" over the internet is much more about quantity than quality. My girlfriend's dad's girlfriend's son (no, I'm not joking) is 12 years old and was bragging about how many MySpace friends he had after spent three entire days sitting in front of a computer while we were at a beach house on the Maine coast (and not swimming, surfing, kayaking, or spending any time enjoying the outdoors). He told me he had 350 friends... when I asked how many he knew in person he said "
    • I think for a pre-teen or teenager, concepts like "popularity" reign supreme. So having the ability to talk about oneself in some kind of public forum (EG. friendster or myspace), and then having a "hit counter" recording all the people you're vaguely "connected with" is really attractive to them.

      There was a similar "dating/friendship" site somebody referred me to in a URL a while back, and it seemed to take this to even more of an extreme. Basically, people would view your photos or bio and click to indi
    • by Gonarat ( 177568 ) *

      My girlfriend's dad's girlfriend's son (no, I'm not joking) is 12 years old and was bragging about how many MySpace friends he had after spent three entire days sitting in front of a computer while we were at a beach house on the Maine coast (and not swimming, surfing, kayaking, or spending any time enjoying the outdoors).

      Perhaps I am wandering away from the main point you were trying to make, but you also brought up something else that I thought was interesting. When I was a kid (I'm 43) and went on vac

    • after spent three entire days sitting in front of a computer while we were at a beach house on the Maine coast (and not swimming, surfing, kayaking, or spending any time enjoying the outdoors).

      Point taken. But having spent many childhood summers living in a Maine cottage so close to the Atlantic that high tide storms sprayed ocean water on our living room window, I must ask: Did *you* try swimming or surfing in that water?

      It's beyond frigid and not altogether safe without a drysuit. As a child I could wade
  • BombScare: i beat the internet
    BombScare: the end guy is hard


    The poor internet - it's so misunderstood socially. :)
  • > Interestingly, frequent Internet use is associated with a
    > decline in local knowledge and interest in living in
    > the local area."

    I don't think it's inherent in the technology. There's a dearth of local Internet resources. I have to give local media a D- overall when it comes to using the Internet effectively.

    You can participate in a conversation about nearly anything on the net ... except what's happening in your own town, your own neighborhood, your own school district.

    It's not
  • I think this sort of 'research' is done with little insight into what they are researching. IMO what they have found may simply show that sitting in front of a computer/TV or such is something that appeals strongly to people with little interest in their local community - the typical 'nerd type'?

    or maybe they interpret their results wrongly; I would say that using the internet is likely to widen your horizon. This will of course mean that on one hand you get to know about things that are far away geographic
    • I think this sort of 'research' is done with little insight into what they are researching.

      I think this sort of comment is made with little insight into what is being discussed. This sort of "intuitive" interpretation of the value of data collection and analysis is, if anything, a hinder_ence_ to finding the truth.

      IMO what they have found may simply show that...

      Give me empirical or logical, or even anecdotal evidence to support your opinion. Otherwise it's not worth bits on the wire.

      or maybe they interpre
  • Interestingly, frequent Internet use is associated with a decline in local knowledge and interest in living in the local area.

    I myself am a good example of this. I live in Australia, and was socially very largely lost until I first began using the Internet in 1994. Since then, I made contact with a number of people from several different countries, and found a far greater degree of acceptance than I had ever received for the most part offline in Australia. If it had not been for meeting my present girlfrien
  • my input: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Burlap ( 615181 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:20AM (#16023789)
    not like this will be seen on page two... but what the hell.

    I can say with 100% certinty that the net has GREATLY help my social life. I suffer from a rather permanent and disruptive physicological condition (that i wont go into details here) that was crippling my social interactions with the greater public. Through the net I was able to find, talk to and get support from others with the same condition. Suddenly I wasnt as alone, I found out how to seek treatment and now I am a FAR happier, more social, person.

    Without the net i would still be wollowing alone in my room insted of enjoying life.
  • ... it has really fucked up spelling and grammar, or did someone slip in "hinder" as a noun when I wasn't looking?

    I know Americans have a habit of verbing nouns but is nouning verbs now de rigeur?
  • 2002, eh? So this really isn't "news" in 2006, is it? I mean, it's been four years since the publication of that study, and a lot of analysis has been done since then about it and the previous results. The HomeNet study has already had enough holes drilled into it [psychcentral.com] that I doubt many researchers give any validity to the idea that the Internet is socially isolating any longer.

    Offhandedly suggesting things like "social networking" (which barely existed in 2002 as a unique phenomenon) could have contributed to t

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