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Study Finds Growing Up WIth Gadgets Has a Downside: Social Skill Impairment 203

Posted by timothy
from the huh-whadju-say-lol dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes with this excerpt from a CNN story:"Tween girls who spend much of their waking hours switching frantically between YouTube, Facebook, television and text messaging are more likely to develop social problems, says a Stanford University study published in a scientific journal on Wednesday. Young girls who spend the most time multitasking between various digital devices, communicating online or watching video are the least likely to develop normal social tendencies, according to the survey of 3,461 American girls aged 8 to 12 who volunteered responses. The study only included girls who responded to a survey in Discovery Girls magazine, but results should apply to boys, too, Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor of communications who worked on the study, said in a phone interview. Boys' emotional development is more difficult to analyze because male social development varies widely and over a longer time period, he said."
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Study Finds Growing Up WIth Gadgets Has a Downside: Social Skill Impairment

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  • Not News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:36PM (#38851649)
    Where do you think the whole middle-aged-guy-living-in-parents-basement meme comes from?

    The only new thing here is that it happens to girls, as well as guys.
    • that's the truth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:43PM (#38851689) Journal

      The only new thing here is that it happens to girls

      I've recently had the "privilege" of venturing back into the dating market after more than a year of being single. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it's virtually impossible to date these days without an unlimited texting package. Nobody knows (or at least nobody I've dated) how to talk anymore. It's as if asking for conversation in more than 160 character bites is too much. The distressing thing is that this trait seems to be independent of education and background. I've dated women with backgrounds ranging from GED to Ph.D candidate and have encountered this with all of them.

      Perhaps I'm old fashioned but I'm a techno geek who still appreciates the value of a good handshake and eye contact. The lack of these skills doesn't just screw you with dating; it screws you in the business world as well.

      • Re:that's the truth (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Cruciform (42896) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:49PM (#38851729) Homepage

        I created a profile on PoF and set the limit to 300 characters minimum to contact me.
        I got a few nice messages, but then there were ones with a bunch of gibberish complaining about how they had to write so much just to make contact. It's 4 lines of text... jeez.
        The period now seems to have been replaced with "lol" in most communication too. At least it weeds out the ones worth talking to.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Plenty of Fish, like most other dating sites is a scam. The profiles are fake and compiled by the company's employees. The details may change from profile to profile, but the writing styles do not. Once in a while you will get a message from a chick you want to know more about, but the messages say something brief and do not answer any questions or provide a response.

          I know this unfortunate truth because each of the 3 women I was seeing(in real life) gave me an ultimatum to get serious with them or they
          • Re:that's the truth (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Shakrai (717556) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:37PM (#38852471) Journal

            I'm skeptical of online dating as well but I'm at a loss for what's better these days. I'm not into the bar/clubbing scene, so cross that off the list. I've always maintained boundaries at work and refuse to date co-workers. What does that leave? I've tried activity groups (hiking clubs and the like) but most of the people who attend those are already paired off. Church may be an option for some people but the median age at my church is around 60 so that's not going to work either.

            I've actually met a few friends through OKCupid. Nothing that panned out as relationship material but if you troll through that site long enough you'll actually find decent human beings mixed in with the fake profiles/spammers and the extremely desperate. I think I've met seven or eight people through OKC and only one of them turned out to be psycho. That's probably comparable odds to meeting people in person -- anybody can pretend to be sane for the initial conversation! Sucks that you got banned from there. I wouldn't regard E-Harmony as any real loss; it's overpriced and hasn't quite escaped it's Christian roots. Unless you are a fairly religious person looking for your future spouse E-Harmony isn't likely to prove fruitful.

            • by sydneyfong (410107) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @07:01AM (#38856027) Homepage Journal

              What does that leave?

              Try Slashdot?

              Speaking of that, there's no reason I shouldn't try my luck here too. Hey girls! I'm single, male, 26, and have excellent karma. PM if interested.

            • Eharmony is pretty much a waste of time, even for the devout Christian looking for a partner.

              I met my beloved through an ad I placed on Craigslist. Of course, she will never admit to using Craigslist for how we met. ha People DO actually use the site for something other than hookups; its just not known as well for that side of it.

              PoF was a complete waste of my time. I talked to a couple people, but I never wanted to meet any of them. With Craigslist I got so many responses, so quickly that it became a proc

          • Too bad that you think that.

            I met my wife on Plenty of Fish. My brother met his wife on Craigslist, of all places.

            You just have to be smart about it. If you think there are a lot of fake profiles on Plenty of Fish, they've got nothing on the fake profiles on Craigslist.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            I went to OKCupid first, but got banned permanently on my first day because I became drunk and asked a masculine-looking woman if she had a penis between her legs.

            You silver-tongued devil, you must have the chicks queuing up to let you bang them.

        • by cduffy (652)

          I recently got back into the dating pool myself (Austin, early 30s), and can't say that my experiences are similar.

          The women who initiated contact without solicitation have often done just as you described (and not really been a sort I was very interested in) -- but those who have gone to the effort to respond to my (longer, well-written) messages have universally responded in kind.

          Then again, I don't know what target age and audience you're dealing with; if it's the early-20s crowd, I'd be very unsurprised

      • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:55PM (#38851759) Homepage

        That's because phone calls are fucking annoying.

        If you want to have a conversation with someone, take them out to dinner or some other activity where you are together.

        Otherwise, unless you're stuck across the country and can't see each other, stop expecting people to accept your interruptions to their day.

        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:42PM (#38852519) Journal

          I'm curious why you went to phone calls when I never mentioned them in my initial post?

          That said, some of us do appreciate the value of hearing an actual voice and knowing we have someone's (relatively) undivided attention. Phone calls don't need to "interrupt" your day nor do they need to endure for hours on end. I can communicate more to someone with a five minute phone call than I can with five hours of texting.

          Speaking of fucking annoying that's how I view text messages. They are fine for "Hey, I'm running a few minutes late" but utterly useless for real conversation. They are slower than IM, less meaningful than e-mail and entirely too prone to the misunderstandings that a danger in all forms of non-verbal/in-person communication. Vocal inflections and body language make up a significant portion of human interaction; you are missing a great deal when you remove them both from the equation.

          • With regard to your opinion that text messages aren't meaningful, I think you're just old. They're just another form of communication. Communicating in nothing but 160 char. messages is a problem, but using 160 char. messages often is simply adapting to technology. People made the same argument about email or the telephone when they said that they preferred a handwritten letter and waiting weeks to hear back from people.

            What I can't stand about most young people (aka, people my age) is that they have to
            • What I can't stand about most young people (aka, people my age) is that they have to be texting wherever the fuck they go. Kids today think it's OK to just go ahead and text while in the middle of a conversation. It's not even a "hey, I have to take this, sorry" like you get when the person you're talking to receives a phone call. Every time someone starts texting in the middle of a conversation I have an urge to punch them right in the face. They don't realize that texting is diverting their attention from the conversation and that that's rude to do. I don't care what form of technology it is, diverting your attention from a conversation is rude. I cannot for the live of me comprehend this behavior.

              Unfortunately, a lot of it now begins with the parents that buy their kids handhelds as a way to babysit them in the car because it makes their life easier. They also use them to babysit them in Church, because it makes the parents hour there a lot easier to not have squirrel-like children fighting, disrupting the service, drawing a scene, talking, and whatever else during. The same parents usually have a DVD player in the mini-van, a WII/XBox at home, a pair of DS's/DSi's for their kids, and tend to doll o

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              With regard to your opinion that text messages aren't meaningful, I think you're just old. They're just another form of communication.

              But why do you need to be constantly communicating with someone you're just going out on a date for anyway?

          • Phone calls don't need to "interrupt" your day

            By definition, they interrupt your day. When you get a phone call, you must stop what you're doing and answer it. If you can't answer it at the time, then what do you do? You return the call later when you're free, and interrupt the other person with whatever it is that they are doing.

            A text has no such obligation. My phone vibrates, I know I've gotten a text. I continue doing what it is that I'm doing until such time as I am ready to read it. Yes, e-mail is equivalent now that everyone has smart phon

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Speaking of fucking annoying that's how I view text messages

            They're great for cowards wanting to end relationships though. Nothing makes a point like "u r dumped LOL"

        • I'm pretty sure it's because the generation that first adopted texting did so because it was cheaper than phone calls. Now they're so used to it, they prefer it.

          Habit is a powerful thing. I grew up with email, and I never do texting. I didn't need to, when it became popular I was connected already with constant email access everywhere I went. And since I touch type on real keyboards, I'm very uncomfortable punching telephone/smartphone keys with my thumbs.

        • "That's because phone calls are fucking annoying."

          If you get a phone call from someone you are dating, and you find that annoying, it is probably a pretty solid indication that you should find someone more suitable to date. OMFG! ROTFLMAO! Did I just post that on Slashdot? How do I update my emotional status here? I have 1000 imaginary friends that are just itching to know how I feel!

      • Re:that's the truth (Score:4, Informative)

        by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:55PM (#38851761) Homepage Journal
        Look at all the social network users without resistance to ostracism! Who's going to run civilization now? Zoidberg! That's who!
      • I guess I didn't have that experience. My wife does like to text, but likes to talk face to face, as well. We do like to ping back and forth with one another while we're both working, when something particularly interesting/insane happens at one of our jobs. But we've also always liked to sit down and talk with one another, and still do.

        That doesn't seem to me to be an isolated experience, either. I go up to brunch every Sunday with a group of developers I've worked with in the past and some I still do at p

        • I try to set aside an hour a day just for conversation with my wife. Sometimes it has to be on the phone, but usually we can work it in for face to face time. Its a very good thing for us. The conversation lets her decompress, gives me a chance to reconnect with her, share a bit of my day (even if I do a lot more listening than talking), and because that time is almost always there she doesn't feel the need to interrupt every few seconds when I'm trying to say watch a hockey game, or get some bit of work do

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          There are times when there's no substitute for a face-to-face meetup.

          Most notably, if you want to have sex with someone. Sometimes there's no substitute for a bit of meat-in-meat action.

      • I'm all for playful biting but after 160 bites, I don't think I could handle another mouthful of conversation as you put it no matter the person.

      • by blue_teeth (83171)
        These days, casual conversations are contests.  Didn't you get the memo?

      • You should probably try dating someone other than a teenage girl. ;-)
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I'm a techno geek who still appreciates the value of a good handshake and eye contact.

        I'm not sure that's how dating is supposed to work, but hey I'm not Ameican.

    • by tm2b (42473)
      The big difference is that now, the guys can find the girls on-line and they can talk, get to know each other on-line, bond over how different they feel, and start dating.

      Seriously, this isn't stunting; it's empirically a shift in human social behavior.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        The big difference is that now, the guys can find the girls on-line and they can talk, get to know each other on-line, bond over how different they feel, and start dating.

        And it's at that point where the teenage girl discovers that her boyfriend is actually forty-five, weighs three hundred pounds and lives in his mother's basement (and his mother is the mummified corpse sitting in the armchair).

      • by Larryish (1215510)

        The big difference is that now, the guys can find the 50 year old truck drivers pretending to be girls on-line and they can talk, get to know each other on-line, bond over how different they feel, and then shit their pants when they realize that they reserved a seedy motel room for a fling with Cletus Brown the gay truck driver.

        FTFY.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          The big difference is that now, the guys can find the 50 year old truck drivers pretending to be girls on-line and they can talk, get to know each other on-line, bond over how different they feel, and then shit their pants when they realize that they reserved a seedy motel room for a fling with Cletus Brown the gay truck driver.

          FTFY.

          You too, huh?

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      But-but-but millenials and digital-natives and blah blah blah... Listen up people, just because you can update your twitface status at 4 years old doesn't make you special. Best selling books blowing rainbows up your ass notwithstanding.
  • which seems to be the case, then by spending all your time on facebook and twitter you will fit right in socially.
    • This was what I was thinking: what's "normal" in this context? The same as your parents? -- in that case every generation ever has developed abnormally

  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:42PM (#38851681)
    You would expect introverts to spend more time on gadgets, so the direction of causation here, if any, is not determined. I hate to use a cliche, but "correlation != causation" never seemed more apt.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:43PM (#38851699)

    Please define "social problems"

    Please do it in terms of something other than "the old farts say it was always done this way, so it should always be done this way".

    Welcome to your children's world.

    -- Terry

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This was my first thought upon reading the post.

      Social norms are often an artificial construction, the expectations of them are a burden in themselves, and often quite illusory.

      It's like Machismo, Honor, or a dozen other terms. Are they good, or are they just what's expected?

    • by stms (1132653)

      While this study is both shit and a water is wet study there is a pretty valid definition of "socail problems". If you don't understand how what you say (and how you say it) effects other people emotionally that would probably be considered "social problems". Its probably one of the most important skills to have. Even in the face of new technologies it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        That's not a "problem", that's "pathology", lack of empathy. It's not a "skill" -- the only "skill" involved is ability to operate within society's accepted conventions for interpersonal and professional interactions, and those vary wildly between societies, their segments and subcultures. Not to mention, plenty of society segments and subcultures have "accepted conventions" that are based on suppression of empathy (and for this, and many other reasons, it would be a good thing if they will be abandoned).

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Some of the worst criminals come in a suit, because they have learned how to play the empathic strings of the human mind to their benefit.

    • Totally THIS!

      We have this debate at family dinners quite often. We "don't keep in touch with our friends" is what the parents come up with. The fact is they don't understand modern social media. I don't need to take some random out to dinner once a year to catchup because I am always caught up. I don't need to send letters or mass emails to friends like my parents do updating them about their lives.

      They don't seem to realise that we are communicating in a different way. Facebook. Who need to catchup with pe

    • by swillden (191260)

      Please define "social problems"

      Please do it in terms of something other than "the old farts say it was always done this way, so it should always be done this way".

      Welcome to your children's world.

      Maybe.

      Okay, I'll say right up front that this is purely anecdotal, so take it with plenty of salt, but I've noticed what appears to me to be a disturbing trend among teenage girls, and I wonder if gadgets aren't at least a contributing factor.

      Now, teenagers are selfish. That's nothing new. Learning that there are people outside of yourself, and that those people matter, is something that has always arrived in the late teens, or early 20s (and for some people it doesn't seem to really sink in until dec

      • Getting in trouble with the law? This seems like an outlier case to me. I would be extremely hesitant to chalk this up to modern technology. Sure, some slight differences in behavior, a general negative trend wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility; but something this serious likely has other, much larger, factors involved.
        • by swillden (191260)

          Getting in trouble with the law? This seems like an outlier case to me. I would be extremely hesitant to chalk this up to modern technology. Sure, some slight differences in behavior, a general negative trend wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility; but something this serious likely has other, much larger, factors involved.

          There's no doubt in my daughter's case that there are other factors. She has a pretty severe emotional disorder. But it's not the case with all of the girls I mention. The trouble with the law isn't even the key difference that I see, either. I knew of kids when I was young who got in trouble... that's nothing new. What is different is that what seem to be generally good kids, raised in good homes, taught by good parents go to unexpected extremes when denied gratification.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Could be a number of things, side effects from emancipation, a media that keeps harping the antihero middle-fingering the law as the ultimate person to be, the rush of continual instant gratification, and maybe something completely different. Or none at all...

        • by swillden (191260)

          Could be a number of things, side effects from emancipation, a media that keeps harping the antihero middle-fingering the law as the ultimate person to be, the rush of continual instant gratification, and maybe something completely different. Or none at all...

          Agreed. The plural of anecdote is not data. I recognize that. Perhaps it's nothing and I'm just coincidentally seeing a bunch of troubled cases, and I'm more sensitized to it because of my own daughter's troubles. I especially have to discount the troubles of my daughter's friends, because given her situation she tends to gravitate to others with problems -- and she's even been moved to a school that is especially for kids with special needs. Not all are troubled (one kid is an olympic athlete who need

    • All these girls nowadays aren't developing normal social tendencies! I mean, they're out in the street wearing pants! Not a single one in a dress. How obscene!
  • by egburr (141740) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:44PM (#38851701) Homepage

    least likely to develop normal social tendencies

    Well, from what I remember of "normal social tendencies" in high school, maybe it's better that fewer people develop them.

  • Paradigm shift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tm2b (42473) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:45PM (#38851705) Journal
    Or, they could consider the idea that as on-line communication becomes rooted in our social ecosphere, social skills are changing to more closely integrate on-line interactions.

    15 years ago, online dating was satire. 5-10 years ago it was socially frowned upon. These days, it's damned near normative.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      So can we look forward to people communicating by way of curse storms as seems to be the way things are done on in-game voice chats?

  • Problem is, what is normal? Suppose for instance we thought that Amish social culture and relations between teenagers was normal. Then we might say that the excessive use of cars and shopping malls and fast food led to the development of abnormal attitudes to social relations among teenagers. Suppose we thought arranged marriages the norm. We might say then that excessive levels of consumption of mass market women's magazines led to abnormal attitudes to marriage, including resistance to proper levels o
    • by hitmark (640295)

      I think the normal is the majority behavior, but that is not something set in stone as the generations come and go.

    • Based on my experiences working through one state's vocational rehabilitation system, I'd say the state defines "normal behavior" as what gets and keeps you a job. This has a lot to do with how people are expected to act in interviews and meetings and is thus determined by corporate hiring managers.
  • by tbird81 (946205) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @05:52PM (#38851737)

    Seriously?

    n: 3461 - pretty good
    Inclusion criteria: Girls 8-12 who replied to a magazine survey - pretty bad
    Measurement: Self-reporting of multitasking, self-reporting on social ability - reliable?
    Interpretation: Can also be applied to boys - where the fuck did this come from??
    Author: Clifford Nass a "self-described technologist of 25 years".

    The author seems to be one of those self-promoting weirdos who picks a topic he knows will be controversial, does some easy "science" with it, and comes up with a controversial conclusion. He says he finds the results "disturbing".

    Well Clifford, I find the fact that Stanford employs someone like you quite disturbing. I find you job title "technologist" disturbing. And I find your name dropping of Google and Microsoft disturbing. Most of all, I find the complete lack of scientific method in this study incredibly sad - it's just made for pop-science articles. Shame on you.

    • by Rinnon (1474161) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:01PM (#38851787)
      Don't forget the fact that the magazine in question is "Discovery Girls." Now, I don't want to submit myself completely to stereotypes, but what kind of person reads Discovery Girls? I'm guessing NERDY GIRLS. Just a shot in the dark. And nerds aren't exactly known for their stellar social skills. Not that any of this is a bad thing, I'd take a nerdy socially awkward girl any day of the week (not from the age range the survey took from mind you).
    • I had read the article and posted it on Facebook as a caution. Now I've read your insightful commentary, removed the post, and decided to let the kids play on the lawn again...
    • After some searching, the article appears to be this one [apa.org], "Media use, face-to-face communication, media multitasking, and social well-being among 8- to 12-year-old girls." Abstract:

      An online survey of 3,461 North American girls ages 8-12 conducted in the summer of 2010 through Discovery Girls magazine examined the relationships between social well-being and young girls' media use-including video, video games, music listening, reading/homework, e-mailing/posting on social media sites, texting/instant messaging, and talking on phones/video chatting-and face-to-face communication. This study introduced both a more granular measure of media multitasking and a new comparative measure of media use versus time spent in face-to-face communication. Regression analyses indicated that negative social well-being was positively associated with levels of uses of media that are centrally about interpersonal interaction (e.g., phone, online communication) as well as uses of media that are not (e.g., video, music, and reading). Video use was particularly strongly associated with negative social well-being indicators. Media multitasking was also associated with negative social indicators. Conversely, face-to-face communication was strongly associated with positive social well-being. Cell phone ownership and having a television or computer in one's room had little direct association with children's socioemotional well-being. We hypothesize possible causes for these relationships, call for research designs to address causality, and outline possible implications of such findings for the social well-being of younger adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

      I don't have access to the study itself. I hope that any peer-reviewed study would address the concerns you voiced (and many more). Obviously the CNN article is crap; in the absence of more information, I'll at least give the article the benefit of the doubt and suspend judgement.

  • I think that it's a pretty good article. I think 8 to 12 year range is kind of too narrow and it wasn't a longitudinal study, so we don't get the clear big picture here. It's been mentioned here that social skills are changing overall. Yet, we're still bound by human intuition in terms of how to interact socially(Whether or not they're intrinsic to humanity or not; that's another point. They're certainly nearly universal). These kids are still going to need to get jobs, meet people who aren't geeks etc

  • by matty619 (630957) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:00PM (#38851781)

    As all those tween girls frantically posting to Slasdot all day.

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:11PM (#38851841) Journal

    Multitasking between various digital devices, communicating online, and watching video ARE normal social skills nowadays.

    • by Tom (822)

      No, they aren't skills, they are disabilities.

      Lots and lots of people claim that they are good at multi-tasking. Study after study proves them all wrong - humans are horrible at multi-tasking. What we are excellent in is fooling ourselves with regards to our abilities.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Moreover, there are loads of people who are genuinely introverted and/or afraid to go out in public or talk to people in person at all. I imagine quite a few of them would be much more comfortable communicating and interacting with people when there's a digital wall between them.

  • You know, I'm sick and tired of all these articles about "studies" proving this and proving that, where that "study" refers to a fucking poll! That is NOT science, that is not a study, that is not a good way to draw conclusions. Period.

  • by Prune (557140) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:25PM (#38851887)
    I'm saying the following as a software developer (among other things), which may or may not be ironic: I've always had the concern for the potential (often actualized) of information technology to be socially detrimental. From evolutionary psychology we know that despite the appearances of a very flexible psyche, significant components of most of our behaviors and thinking are hardwired by biology. Nurture only has so much leeway within the boundaries set by nature. Millions of years of evolution have created a social animal that is well fit to a specific environment of foraging tribalism. Civilization has already in a mere 10k years taken us quite far from that, and we've built a sort of human zoo for ourselves. For all the benefits this has brought, many detriments have come about as well, a lot of them having to do with people's actions today often influencing people with whom they have no personal relationships (contrast a tribe where everyone knows everyone else in the tribe and members rarely had influence outside the tribe), much more indirect links between appropriate behavior and reward (creating stress), and so on. Information technology is taking us further yet from our biologically optimal environment, and I have no confidence it will turn out well. Our social interactions have become a perverted version of what we've evolved for, and patterns of interaction through technology abuse the neurological mechanisms responsible for controlling communication and other social aspects of the mind, in the same way that spaghetti programming abuses the goto statement.

    [This part of the post is a bit tangential and may be skipped.] Some people would say that everything will be fine because eventually technology and biotechnology will be used to directly enhance our minds and bodies, so that we can exceed our biological constraints. These people ignore the problem of our moral/ethical frameworks, which are grounded in the brain's evolutionary heritage, being incapable of guiding us in such a future as there is no precedent in the evolution of moral/ethical behavior. Simple example: 60 years in the future a person begins being slowly "enhanced" by replacing one by one his neurons, and then other cells, with artificial or bioengineered ones that initially duplicate function and then bring online enhanced functionality; eventually the whole person's consistence has been replaced; now contrast this to, instead, making a recording of all relevant information about the person, building an artificial copy, and killing the original; same result, yet the second version feels wrong to most people. Our morals/ethics are not equipped for situations that have no analogy whatsoever to anything in our evolutionary past. If we extend ourselves, we would have to extend our morals and ethics too, and the latter extension is basically arbitrary.
    • by jez9999 (618189)

      Our social interactions have become a perverted version of what we've evolved for, and patterns of interaction through technology abuse the neurological mechanisms responsible for controlling communication and other social aspects of the mind

      I don't really understand why modern social interactions are 'preverting' or 'abusing' our evolutionary neurological mechanisms. Care to expand on that? It seems to me that we're communicating in different ways, and over greater distances... but that doesn't really me

  • Is this really the best that medical research can come up with?

    There's a ton of potential correlations that people have noticed which would be medically relevant if only someone would take the time to check them out.

    How about looking into the supplements people take to see if they have any effect? Not just the "trace doses on a population of subjects with a known genetic cause seems to have no effect" kind of study, but a real studies which could validate or dismiss the various claims that people make about

  • by rhysweatherley (193588) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:36PM (#38851935)
    I'm guessing the researcher's definition of "normal social tendencies" is:

    Grows up a little princess, sheltered from the big bad world, only goes on dates at chaperoned events in clear sight of her father, until some presentable young man with good prospects asks her father for permission to put a ring on her finger.

    And this from the article is just WTF:

    A few years ago, Nass worked on a study about how multitasking affects adults. He found that heavy multitaskers experience cognitive issues, such as difficulty focusing and remembering things. They were actually worse at juggling various activities, a skill crucial to many people's work lives, than those who spent less time multitasking, Nass said.

    So someone who is good at multitasking is worse at juggling various activities? What does multitasking even mean if not juggling?

    I have experienced older relatives getting upset when I'm just reading to myself, sending e-mails, or surfing the net, instead of talking to them. Social does not mean I HAVE to socialize with YOU.

    • What you fail to grasp is that just because someone multi-tasks, this doesn't mean they are any good at it OR that it is the right approach to take.

      You seem to think that you are multi-tasking BUT are you doing any of the things you do as good as you could be doing them if you didn't have the attention span of a kitten? Don't even bother saying that when you try, it makes no difference, all that shows is that people who multi-task without being very good at it are just bad at single tasks as well.

      I couldn't

  • LIttle Judy cant focus cause she is bombarded with blinky shit fighting for attention on every square inch of her life? dope-em! thats why its there, no need to be a parent and turn the shit off once in a damn while, let you 6 year old have 24/7 access to a smartphone, video games, tv and the internet ... how ever else will she learn how to use these things? I mean geez parents it took you like forever to push a button and click a mouse right?

  • That is either radically cool or a forewarning of doom for our society, probably both.
  • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:14PM (#38852265) Journal

    I'm not just asking rhetorically: the article is lacking any meaninful information, and begs many questions. It says that online interactions do not substitute for "real" interactions, but why aren't online interactions "real", and if they are distinctly different in character from offline interactions, what makes them worse, rather than better, or rather than simply different?

    What social problems are we talking about? Are we talking about differences that young women would themselves consider problems? Or is it simply a preference for online interaction?

    It's entirely likely that the actual study cites real problems. But like everyone else here, I've had a lot of experiences with people denouncing my interests as "not real" and inferior to "real" activities, and I'm conscious that there's a lot of social pressure on people in general and women in particular to conform to toxic social norms. So I can't help but suspect that the study is complaining that some women are nerds. And we like nerds here.

  • Coincidence (Score:4, Funny)

    by goldaryn (834427) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:24PM (#38852369) Homepage
    Siri and I were just talking about this
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:37PM (#38852473)

    I would like to see a study that compares various technologies and the social behaviour of children. The reason is simple enough: there have always been children with poorly developed social skills. The difference is the technology that they bury themselves in.

    Today, it seems to be telecommunications technology and social networking. That's what this study is about. In the 80's and 90's, kids buried themselves in computers and video games. In the 60's and 70's, there was the TV epidemic. Throughout the whole time, less social children have been engrossed in the most insidious technology of all: books.

    So my question is this: is this 'desocialization' of children remaining at the same levels historically, or is it actually getting worse? Somehow, I suspect there has been little if any change because I suspect that children who are less social migrate to these technologies as an outlet. And if that is the case, can the new technologies improve socialization skills. After all, we are talking about communications technology these days. You use SMS or Facebook to converse with people. If you alienate people using those media, you are cut off. That should incentivize better social behaviour.

    But all of this is speculation, since I have questions but not the tools to investigate it.

  • Why? I grew up with gadgets, the primitive ones. I'm no more socially awkward because of it. And yes, I have 12 tabs open right now. So what?
  • ... impaired social skills? Great! Now we've got someone who will date Slashdotters.

  • Tween girls who spend much of their waking hours switching frantically between YouTube, Facebook, television and text messaging are more likely to develop social problems, says a Stanford University study published in a scientific journal on Wednesday.

    I asked my young niece, my sister's daughter, what she thought of this study. She said she disagreed with its findings.

    I asked her why and after removing her left earphone she said, "Fuck you, that's why."

    I would have been more disturbed about her reaction if

  • Somehow the idea that multi-tasking not only is necessary but a GOOD thing has become entwined in our society, especially under the influence of women who claim they are better at it then men and that men with their single task focus are obsolete...

    Yet, the military STILL likes to put TWO people in charge of complex fighting machine. If not more? Why? Especially in fighter planes there is no technical need for it anymore. So why still two people or more to divide the tasks? Can highly intelligent, well trai

  • I know, I was one of them. But back when I was 10-12, we didn't have constant online access or cell phones or Facebook. The most I got was an hour of PC time at a computer lab on Saturdays, and what connection time I could steal from my best friend's house (I did have one of those, at least) since her family had a family computer and Prodigy. (I think I just dated myself.) So we were stuck with some mild social skills impairment due to natural introversion, but no other outlet for our desire for human c
  • Teens continue to redefine normal, much to the chagrin of adults, again!

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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