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I do agree that the youth of today are a little different
from we were when we were young but I’m afraid that I really don’t believe this
particular piece of research. Which seems to be claiming that checking Twitter
and Facebook is better, or perhaps more addictive, than sex, booze or even
tobacco.

“Checking social
networking sites is more tempting than sex and cigarettes, a study has
revealed.Researchers at Chicago University’s Booth Business School
used BlackBerrys to log reports about participants’ willpower and desires over
seven days.

The online poll of 250 participants in Germany revealed the yearning to
interact through tweets, photos, and comments was stronger than sex and
cigarettes.”

That’s not really quite what the research found, although
that may be what people are saying it did:

“Over seven consecutive days participants were signalled
seven times a day over 14 hours, reported the Guardian.
This meant they were required to message back and inform if
they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one within
the last 30 minutes.”

Ah, no, what is being measured there is not the intensity of
desire. Not that Twitter or Facebook are better than sex (or alcohol, or
cigarettes). Rather, what is being measured is frequency of desire which is
something very different indeed.
It is indeed some decades since I’ve been roistering in the
way that some of the young do these days. I would certainly need decent
pharmaceuticals to roister sexually in the way we hear some do. I’d pretty
certainly need decent pharmaceuticals the day after if I drank even the way I
used to let alone how some of the young do today (Jaegermeister bombs?
Seriously, what is the point?).
But sex is a self-limiting activity. Whatever teenage boys
think about it (which is a lot even if they’ve not much experience of it) it
really is self-limiting. Having had it five minutes ago might indeed remind
about how wonderful it is, might well lead to intense feelings for one’s
inamorata. But as we all know having had it five minutes ago (and if this
doesn’t happen to you then boy is middle age going to be a surprise!) leads to
a decline for the desire for it in the immediate future even if it increases
the general desire for it as a regular part of life.
Checking Twitter or Facebook is simply not self-limiting in
the same manner. The correct interpretation of the research is thus that the
desire to go online and indulge in social media is a more frequent desire than
that to have sex or a drink. Not a more intense desire at all, just a more
frequent one.
Which does make a great deal of sense. For there are many
things in this world that we do more often than either: just as an example
almost all of us eat more times a day than we do either. But “mealtimes more
tempting than sex” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? I’d be
willing to argue that we all sit down more times a day too but that really
doesn’t work, does it?
Source: Forbes

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