Hace unas semanas, un informe sobre el impacto de las redes sociales en la salud mental de los niños británicos me llamó la atención. En una encuesta realizada a 1,500 jóvenes de todo el Reino Unido, la Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) exploró cómo las plataformas como Instagram, Snapchat y Facebook alimentaban la ansiedad, la depresión y la falta de sueño de los niños.
El libro es un ensayo de Vicente Serrano Marín, doctor en Filosofía de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, en el que desgrana cómo manejan las redes sociales nuestras vidasFacebook es un dispositivo político y una máquina capaz de incidir en nuestra afectividad para convertirla en un factor de producción, según el autor
TumblrInAction, TheRedPill and BlackPeopleTwitter seemingly welcome bigoted comments, according to analysis by Ibidon’s Ben Bell
With its decentralised structure, community moderation, and hands-off management, it’s hard to generalise about the social network Reddit. The site is built of thousands of ‘subreddits’ – user-created forums with a focus on specific topics such as the video game Destiny, fitness, a love of maps, or even just drugs.
But each subreddit has different norms, rules and tone, which can make navigating the site an exercise in frustration and nasty surprises. It takes a while to develop a feeling for any particular sub, by which point a hostile community may already have ruined your day.
Ben Bell, a data scientist at text-analytics start up Ibidon, decided to apply his company’s technology to the site to work out which subreddits have communities you would want to be a part of, and which you would be best avoiding.
Bell’s interest was sparked by a post asking Redditors to suggest their nominees for the most “toxic communities” on the site. Suggestions included the parenting subreddit – full of “sanctimommies” – and the community for the game League of Legends, which has “made professional players quit the game”.
He writes: “As I sifted through the thread, my data geek sensibilities tingled as I wondered: ‘Why must we rely upon opinion for such a question? Shouldn’t there be an objective way to measure toxicity?’
“With this in mind, I set out to scientifically measure toxicity and supportiveness in Reddit comments and communities. I then compared Reddit’s own evaluation of its subreddits to see where they were right, where they were wrong, and what they may have missed. While this post is specific to Reddit, our methodology here could be applied to offer an objective score of community health for any data set featuring user comments.”
Bell pulled out a sample of comments from every one of the top 250 subreddits, as well as any forum mentioned in the toxicity thread, and subjected them to a number of tests designed to look for toxicity, which he defined as a combination of ad hominem attacks and overt bigotry.
From there, he used a combination of sentiment analysis and human annotation to code each comment as toxic or non-toxic. The former involves applying Ibidon’s technology to attempt to categorise comments as either positive, negative or neutral in sentiment, which let him narrow down the work required for the human annotators by 96%, only looking at those subreddits which had already been picked as containing a lot of negative comments.
Sentiment analysis is a controversial technology. It allows researchers to automatically process reams of data but it is criticised as an overly simplistic tool. In Bell’s tests, however, it proved its worth. “Using the sentiment model, we selected the 30 most positive and the 30 most negative posts from each subreddit, and then another 40 posts we selected randomly for human annotation,” he said.
Hyperactivity disorders are now the second most diagnosed childhood conditions in the US behind asthma, with 20% of college students sufffering
The internet might make you feel hyperactive, but do you really have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
Michael Pietrus PsyD, coordinator of the ADHD assessment protocol at the University of Chicago, explains how the internet encourages behaviour that at least mimics ADHD, and can exacerbate the condition in people who have it already.
Pietrus looks after many students at the college who feel the effects of academic and social pressure. In the US, 11% of children between four and 17 now have a diagnosis of ADHD and the rates have been going up by 5% every year from 2003 to 2011. It’s now the most commonly diagnosed condition for children in the US after asthma. Twenty per cent of the US college population now have ADHD, which appears as hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, and are at higher risk of substance abuse and self medication, depression and a host of other consequent conditions.
“People with ADHD are hardwired for novelty seeking, which until recently was an evolutionary advantage,” said Pietrus, speaking at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. ADHD sufferers have fewer dopamine receptors, which means that a normally interesting activity seems less rewarding or even boring.
No one can explain the increase in ADHD in the US, Pietrus said. “People engage in compulsion for all sorts of reasons and often because of the way their personality extends into the online space. But compulsive behaviour is reinforced and rewarded, and that has an impact on the ability to plan and organise as well as focus on tasks and self regulate our behaviour.”
In an era of email, text messages, Facebook and Twitter, we’re all required to do several things at once. But this constant multitasking is taking its toll. Here neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin explains how our addiction to technology is making us less efficient
Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.
Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight. They’re more powerful and do more things than the most advanced computer at IBM corporate headquarters 30 years ago. And we use them all the time, part of a 21st-century mania for cramming everything we do into every single spare moment of downtime. We text while we’re walking across the street, catch up on email while standing in a queue – and while having lunch with friends, we surreptitiously check to see what our other friends are doing. At the kitchen counter, cosy and secure in our domicile, we write our shopping lists on smartphones while we are listening to that wonderfully informative podcast on urban beekeeping.
But there’s a fly in the ointment. Although we think we’re doing several things at once, multitasking, this is a powerful and diabolical illusion. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.” So we’re not actually keeping a lot of balls in the air like an expert juggler; we’re more like a bad amateur plate spinner, frantically switching from one task to another, ignoring the one that is not right in front of us but worried it will come crashing down any minute. Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient.
Seguramente lo has visto en foros o en las zonas de comentario de noticias. Generan un extenso rechazo y generalmente se toman el tiempo de responder, cosa de seguir generando ruido. Esos son los denominados trolls de Internet.
Hasta ahora no se sabía mucho de lo que son este tipo de personas, sin embargo un estudio canadiense logró un acercamiento en la personalidad de estos personajes que abundan en la web.
Fue en la revista Personality and Individual Differences donde se publicó la investigación que tomó a 1.215 personas, quienes respondieron una encuesta de manera presencial y virtual, respectivamente.
En ella se hacían consultas como qué sitios web frecuentaban, horas en ella, si participaban de foros, en sitios de noticias o YouTube. Además se incluyó consultas que venían a medir la “Tétrada Oscura”, algo que los sicólogos usan para saber sobre el narcisismo, maquiavelismo, sicopatía y personalidad sádica, con opciones tales como “disfruto bromear a expensas de los demás” y “disfruto ser el villano en juegos y torturar a otros personajes”, informó CNN México.
Los resultados dieron con que quienes practicaban el trolleo eran precisamente los que cumplían con la “Tétrada Oscura”, es decir, sádicos, sicópatas y maquiavélicos (un desprecio por la moral y tendencia a manipular o explotar a otros). Lo que puede ser observado en este gráfico que expuso Phsycology Today