Essay topics: A recent survey of 250 adults between 30-45 showed an association between the number of hours adults spend online each day and self reporting of symptoms commonly associated with depression. The survey found that adults who spend 30 hours or more online each week were twice as likely as others to report that they “frequently” had trouble concentrating. Of adults who reported spending more than 30 hours per week online, 20% also reported that they had felt “sad, down or blue” at least three times within last month.
These results suggest that spending too much time online is linked to depression and people who want to improve their well-being should strictly limit the time they spend online.
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
The argument states that adults in a certain age group are more likely to report having psychological problems like depression or lack of concentration if they are spending 30 hours or more online. Hence it is suggested that the time spent online should be strictly limited. The reasoning behind this assertion is not correct as it fails to provide certain key points which are crucial to the validity of the statement.
Firstly we are not given if the experiment was conducted in an atmosphere which is prevalent in everyday life or if the conditions where unique to a certain set of people. Thus the nature of the subjects of the study has to be elaborated including the similarities they share with the normal population or any differences they have.
Secondly the study is a survey and it is not mentioned that it is was performed with a strict set of guidelines that are usually followed by a controlled experiment. This means that there is no specified control group of people against whom the test subjects can be compared. Furthermore the symptoms that are reported are all subjective and we have no rational way of knowing the extant of veracity in the statements provided by those tested and neither can we quantify the complaints as the words used in the argument are "frequent" and not a statistical figure. The symptoms are also described in an informal fashion like feeling "sad, down, or blue" and not in scientific terms. This raises the question of actual nature of complains. They can be the by products of their lifestyle in general and may have nothing to do with their time spent online. Therefore there has to a scientific way of collecting and presenting the data and the survey comes short in this aspect.
Thirdly the question is raised if spending to much time online is the only cause of these symptoms. Are there no other associated cause like lack of exercise or spending too much time indoors which in a way are related to long hours on the computer but they can be a result of various other activities. It has to be stated that the people having these symptoms are in all other ways similar to the rest of the population and the only thing different are there online habits.
To summarize the essay it has to be stated that the argument presented has certain flaws in reasoning as mentioned above and unless these are rectified this survey cannot be the basis of passing the verdict that in order to lead a healthy life without psychological problems, like lack of concentration and symptoms of depression, the effective method is to curtail or strictly limit the time spent online. There might be other contributing factor to the problem at hand and they should be studied and presented in detail before any major statement is issued.
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