NEGATIVE - CRITIQUE OF TECHNOLOGY INTERNET 166
INTERNET CREATES SOCIAL ISOLATION AND DESTROYS COMMUNITY
KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION STUDY SHOWS THE INTERNET KEEPS PEOPLE APART
Norman H. Nie and Lutz Erbring, Stanford University & Free University of Berlin, May, 2000; Debating the societal effects of the Internet: Connecting With the Worldhttp://www.gwu.edu/~ccps/NieDebate.html // acs-EE2001
It is, of course, ironic that literally within days of his venomous attack, another national study of computer and Internet use by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University reported essentially the same (even stronger) results: 58% of their respondents report computers have led them to spend less time with their families and friends, and 46% say computers have given them less free time. Indeed there are reasons why textbooks on scientific methodology emphasize the importance of replication! Thus, we could rest our substantive case here.
NIE & EBRING STUDY SHOWS INTERNET CUTS PEOPLE OFF FROM EACH OTHER
Amitai Etzioni, professor, George Washington University and founder of the Communitarian Network, May, 2000; Debating the societal effects of the Internet: Connecting With the Worldhttp://www.gwu.edu/~ccps/NieDebate.html // acs-EE2001
Unfortunately Professors Nie and Erbring followed a less revered route. They provided a summary of their study to the media, which got front page attention but actually conflicted with their findings. Their major conclusion was that people who use the Internet cut themselves off from family and friends, diminish their social lives, and become isolated and lonely. Professor Nie told the New York Times that "the more hours people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings." In a press release, he further explained that his study focused on the emotional effects of "more people being home, alone and anonymous." Nie also stated that, "The Internet could be the ultimate isolating technology that further reduces our participation in communities even more than television did before it." Finally, discussing the ethics of business dealings, Nie stated that "When we lived in small communities, the old story was that you said to yourself, 'I'll see this guy and his wife at church on Sunday, so I better be honest with him today.' Now, it's becoming, 'Hell, I won't ever even know this guy's name.'" And on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nie declared that "as we've moved through the results of many of these technological inventions, the crisis of modernity is aloneness and anomie."