Monday, January 28, 2013

Can the Web Make Us Insane?

(See link below comments for full article)

For my tastes, this author relies a bit too much on a straw man fallacy. You'll also notice major overlaps with Sherry Turkle's work (to the point of replication), but three key points/questions struck my interest:

1) Is overuse (abuse) of the Internet (however one defines overuse, i.e., time, subject matter, etc.) truly an addictive behavior in the vein (pun intended) of drugs, food, sex, etc.?

2) Building on the previous point, since so much of ALL of our lives is online, how do we separate addicts from "normal" users?

3) What types of longitudinal studies should we be designing to investigate patterns of use and abuse of the Web? It seems most of the information provided in this article is scant, anecdotal and qualitative. It also seems driven by a clear directed hypothesis, i.e., the Internet has deleterious effects on some, let's go prove that point. How might we go about designing a quality, longitudinal study that does more than catalog scary anecdotes?

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