Sunday, August 08, 2010

depression and the internet

The following is from Time Magazine:
Mental illness drives some teens to become addicted to the Internet, but what about the reverse? Can pathological Web surfing trigger depression? According to a survey of Chinese high school students,the answer is yes. Scientists found that healthy teens who used the Internet obsessively— reporting that they felt moody or nervous when not online—were 2.5 times more likely to become depressed nine months later than less frequent surfers were.
One of the symptoms of depression is a loss of sense of control over one's environment and the circumstances of one's life. There is a simple neurological feedback loop through which efforts bring rewards. Evidently, mastery and control of the digital device is not a sufficient substitute for control of real world stuff, like real tools and materials that involve real physical engagement and non-virtual challenges. The threshold for rewards in the form of self-actualization and release of mood enhancing neuro-hormones is not met by twiddling our thumbs on keyboards.

In the meantime, an editorial in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette proclaims "the end of books." Reading is changing as people spend more time browsing on-line and less immersing themselves in such depths as books can offer. Evidently, the video gaming industry, too, is facing changes and challenges of its own as described by CNN: What does 'video game' mean, anyway?

If we are all busy with what the Democrat-Gazette article called OCDs (online communication devices) not to be confused with IEDs (improvised explosive devices), we might note that both can have destructive effect. Prozac anyone?

And wouldn't making beautiful and useful things be much more fun?


  1. Henrique Chaudon12:02 PM

    Dear Doug:
    Since a month we have our daughter and her two kids, Rafael (11) and Daniel(5), living with us. I'm already making changes on the shop to provide a space where they could work. Your blog is my support. Thanks.

  2. What a wonderful thing! While my daughter Lucy was in the wood shop I was always most concerned about boards and other things falling, as I have a tendency to leave things in too precarious conditions for when kids are around.

    Injuries always happen to the non-dominant hand, so vises and clamps and using them to hold things being cut or drilled is the best way to insure safety.

    Mainly, by giving this gift to them, you are giving a great gift to yourself. I can think of your grandsons telling others in years to come, of their wonderful grandfather and his wood shop... The smell of wood and the glorious opportunity to make things with their own hands.

    What a wonderful way to be remembered.

  3. Technology can be a grand thing but societal priorities have shifted over the last several decades which present huge challenges. If (and that's a big "if") a child today has two stable parents in the home for supervision and processing life, then that is the exception. Kids are so much more on their own these days where video games, value-less TV, and uncensored internet surfing have only compounded the challenges.

    Sharing via the internet has enhanced my own endeavors in woodworking tenfold but I'm also a well adjusted adult... which might also be the exception in today's world. When kids have stable and well balanced adults in their lives then the internet becomes a tool to enhance the good things rather than a dreary path down a dark dead-end road.