Is the Internet Really Making You Crazy?

The creator of the Kony film, Jason Russell was arrested for lewd behaviour.

(Time) Does the Internet Really Make Everyone Crazy?

By Maia Szalavitz@maiaszJuly 13, 2012

A closer look at the data shows that media claims about the Web making us mad might be justified in newsstand sales, but not by science

Sociologists call them moral panics — when a population pins its unanchored fear in uncertain times on a selected demon, whether or not the target is really a threat to society. Drugs are a frequent focus of these societal anxiety attacks, but this week, Newsweek tries to foment a classic panic against a more universal foe: the Internet.

Headlined online “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?” the article begins with the story of Jason Russell, the filmmaker behind the “Kony2012″ video about the African cult-leader and warlord Joseph Kony. After the video went viral and suddenly brought Russell international fame, he wound up naked and ranting on a San Diego street corner. To make the case that the Internet caused Russell’s psychotic break, the Newsweek article rapidly generalizes from rare, extreme experiences like Russell’s and wends through a selective reading of the research to argue, in the words of one quoted source, that the Net, “encourages — and even promotes — insanity.”

(MORE: The Internet Knows You’re Depressed, but Can It Help You?)

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Also see Did Bulgarians Think The Dead Would Come Vampires?Are All Of Your Emails Duplicated For Backups?Does Gender Affect The Perceptions Of Infidelity?What do “Occupy”, “Arab Spring” and “Steve Jobs” Have in Common? and Does Kim Kardashian’s Divorce Announcement Make the Internet Heavier?

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