What if the Internet Really Isn’t Social? What If It’s the Opposite? (asks Jason Gots)

Good read via BigThink and Jason Gots
Best snippets:

“Marketing agency Digital Clarity conducted a survey of 1,300 people in 2014 that examined the symptoms of net addiction in young adults. It found that almost 16 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds admitted to spending over 15 hours a day online.  To portray the hold that mobile devices have over us, photographer Eric Pickersgill released a series of photographs in October 2015 in which he removed all electronic devices. Dubbed Removed, Pickersgill says the inspiration for the project came from an observation he made one morning at a café: “Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, New York, is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.”

Marc Potenza, a psychiatrist at Yale who primarily studies alcohol and drug addiction says that “some people have posited that the Internet is a vehicle and not a target of disorder.” That is, if you spend your time gambling online or shopping online, maybe you aren’t an Internet addict, but rather a gambling or shopping addict. In the video gaming example cited above, perhaps Van Cleave is addicted to the game and not the medium through which he plays it…

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