A lot of the fear of smart phones and social media may be based on faulty data

New research shows that the fear of smart phones and social media was built on a castle made of sand. Turns out almost all of previous research never bothered to validate their assessments of smart phone use – and that appears to have been a HUGE mistake.

That is from Patrick Markey at Villanova, here is the whole thread.  Here Dr. Andrea Howard has some comments about screen time and suicide correlations.


So the neighbor's dog is not really using my smartphone to make me kill people?

Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
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little something from their sites.

Wait, I need to use social media to find out that social media is peachy keen dandy?

Tails chasing dogs, right?

"The mystic privacy one can be so proud of has no alphabet of noise or meaning to the people outside...Here. Where I am anonymous and alone in a white room...So I can make something unknown in the shape of this room. Where I am the King of Corners....I am full of the white privacy. Collisions around me. Eyes clogged with people...as a photograph it is not good or precise, partly because it was printed after the fire." - M.Ondaatje

All this "research" that blames modern forms of entertainment for mental illness is just the manifestation of unconscious prejudices of old people unable to enjoy these new entertainment media.

Though it is interesting to note how common it has become to hear various devices signalling they require attention whenever several people gather.

Which does not really seem to a mark of a 'new entertainment media,' but something more akin to what Pavlov was doing with dogs.

you've worned your welcome

...or it's not, and we're killing our children and ruining our culture. One or the other.

The people who complain the most about their use of social media are the 20 and 30-somethings who spend 10 hours a day fighting about leftist politics on Twitter or the Instagram addicts who make a big show of getting off Instagram for two days.

In contrast, most of the truly old people I know seem to enjoy social media for the easy access they get to new pictures of their grandkids.

Cowen is on a roll, solving all manner of social and economic problems, by eliminating their existence. It's not you, it's me. There's always somebody who can prove something. I'll admit that I'm not qualified to discuss SM. No, not sado masochism, where I am an expert, but social media, where I have never been. As Yogi Berra says, when in doubt, go there. It's April 1st. Get over it.

Dissing the favorite social problems of left and right is a libertarian pastime. They're of the "the only we have to fear is fear itself" school of thinking. Unless it's overreaching government. That's THEIR favorite social problem.

Yet another reason to be skeptical when nanny state totalitarians use freshly minted research to dictate how others should live

So, yet another example of crappy social science using poor methods of research to generate sensationalist headlines.

How does "self-reported use doesn't correlate to actual use" magically turn into "fear of smart phones and social media was built on a castle made of sand"?

Only on Twitter does "hey I've found an issue with your data" turn into "bunk! the whole thing is bunk!" jeremiad. This guy is part of the problem.

the middle class doesn't have a solutions problem. the middle class has no problem standing in line. the middle class doesn't "use" sunglasses or require data to stimulate. stimulation is indeed a middle class art. sure, the wealthy cook in their kitchens, but the middle class are surely the ones you want to watch sports with. no, none of the modern architecture of museums has anything to say, none except MASPE on Paulista Avenue. How does one maximize gain at a museum? It is through athleticism.

Jeff Bezos had his smartphone hacked by the Saudis. I don't think he needs an academic study to tell him how he should feel about it.

The fear was based on data!?

The gate of a white fence that broke off a field below had slid open and swung back and forth.

Doctor Leland Stillman has an interesting take on electronic devices and the results of 4 or more hours - per day! - being attached, visually and electronically , to such advices.

He recommends more sunlight, better nutrition, and not trusting Ivy League statistics.

Smart guy.

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If faulty data are so ubiquitous (the ubiquity of "faulty data" would seem capable of boasting a LOT of explanatory power), then perhaps we still have not been able to discover plainly whether cellphones cause or contribute to the onset of brain cancers.

In other universes empiricism begins to fail almost as soon as one begins to think erroneously that he has collected sufficient data.

I remember a mildly amusing joke by some random standup comic in the early 2000s -- "Remember how everyone was saying maybe cell phones give you brain cancer? I think people just gave up on that discussion right around the introduction of 'anytime minutes.'" And that was before the spread of texting, let alone smartphones.

Phew. Now we can let our kids use social media and smartphones as much as they want, since the data doesn't clearly confirm the intuition that pretty much all of us have.

Dr. Howard (on Twitter) considers the number of suicides in each "screen time usage" bucket, without considering the size of each bucket. Since we are interested in knowing whether the suicide *rate* is related to screen time, her point is moot without that context.

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