James, Lilian, Lisa and Ron discuss the recent publicity over Susan Greenfield’s comments in the Daily Mail on the “dangers” of social networking and young people’s brains. Does using social networking sites lead to loneliness and isolation? Do users of Facebook and Twitter feel excluded from society. In this podcast we discuss the furore and the issues.
This is the fifteenth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Social networking rots your brains.
- James’ blog post on this subject.
- BBC News reports on Susan Greenfield.
- The story then ran in the Daily Mail and Susan was interviewed.
- Dr Ben Goldacre has published his reaction to the article on the Bad Science blog.
- Dr Ben Goldacre also linked to some useful academic papers which dispute the “connection” between social networking and loneliness.
- Caplan SE published a paper in 2007 entitled: “Relations among loneliness, social anxiety, and problematic Internet use.” Dr Sigman did not quote this paper in his article. Why not? “The results support the hypothesis that the relationship between loneliness and preference for online social interaction is spurious.”
- Sum et al published a paper in 2008 with the title: “Internet use and loneliness in older adults“. Dr Sigman chose not to quote this paper. Why not? I don’t know, although it does contain the line “greater use of the Internet as a communication tool was associated with a lower level of social loneliness.”
- Subrahmanyam et al published a paper in 2007 called “Adolescents on the net: Internet use and well-being.” It features the line “loneliness was not related to the total time spent online, nor to the time spent on e-mail”. Dr Sigman ignored it.
- Another good blog post on this is from Sue Thomas.
- Why Social Networks Are Good for the Kids.
- Age Concern backs social networks.
Finally the photo above of zombies meeting in the real world was organised on Facebook. So you could argue that Facebook has turned them into zombies, however I don’t think these kinds of social gatherings was what Susan Greenfield meant.