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Detecting Depression From How (Not What) You Browse

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the scroll-scroll-click-pause-click-scroll-means-you're-a-psychopath dept.

Social Networks 163

New submitter FreedomFirstThenPeac writes "Apparently we can diagnose you as depressed if the mechanics of your internet use fit certain patterns. By using a cleverly embedded questionnaire that classifies the subject as depressed, and by using existing net usage data collection to collect features (variables), researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology were able to correctly predict the diagnoses of the questionnaire using the net usage data (PDF). I wonder if this could be a new Firefox plug-in, designed to help parents detect depression in their adolescents by tracking the mechanics (not the sites) and automatically emailing them if their ward is showing increasing signs of depression."

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163 comments

well.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40990937)

first post. but what does it all mean?

Re:well.. (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991067)

it means if your child makes a frist post on slashdot as AC, you're screwed.

Re:well.. (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991109)

I thought EVERYBODY made their first post to slashdot as AC.

Re:well.. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991467)

Hell no, if I'm making a FP I want to put my name on it.

I've had ONE since I signed up in 2001.

Re:well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993957)

What about those of us why value anonymity, for fear of prosecution. Those of us who want our voice heard but still prefer to fade into the crowd, without anyone ever knowing who we were?

Romney/Ryan/2012 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40990943)

What's there to be depressed about?

Change baby!

Re:Romney/Ryan/2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991683)

What's there to be depressed about?

Change baby!

That's change I can be excited about!!!

NObama 2012

Re:Romney/Ryan/2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991961)

Cure for depression! Drink more tea!

Re:Romney/Ryan/2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993723)

NObama 2012

Vote Establishment Party if you're sick of the Establishment Party!

Another idea. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40990977)

Maybe the parents could talk to their kids and observe their behavior instead. If you need to spy on your kids browsing history to find out they have depression then you have completely failed as a parent.

Re:Another idea. (5, Insightful)

maxdread (1769548) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991123)

The problem is that those suffering from depression may do a lot, even subconsciously, to cover some of the obvious signs of depression from those closest to them. Add on to the fact that most people don't know enough about the signs of depression and it can be hard at times to easily recognize them.

Secondly, I'm ready to dismiss you and your idea without further discussion just for the fact that your skills in reading comprehension are severely lacking to the point that the basic premise of the article has completely escaped you. This has nothing to do with WHAT you're browsing, there is no checking a browser history, this was simply about HOW you use the internet could help determine the possibility of being depressed. Even if it isn't practical for parents to use, it's still an interesting idea nonetheless.

Re:Another idea. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991575)

No not subconsciously, we hide those signs on purpose. People don't want to be around others that are depressed because frankly it's depressing and we know it. If we let our symptoms show everyone will ignore us (which we feel they already do anyway) and we'll be even more alone and more depressed. People also aren't understanding and are quite rude: "Yeah I dropped my ice cream once and was really sad, then I decided to be awesome instead. Stop being depressed and be awesome!" To someone who's actually depressed and not simply sad, that statement is simply a huge FUCK YOU YOU LAZY ASSHOLE and reinforces the belief that we suck and should die because we can't get better and never will. So why struggle through life at all?

We also don't want people bugging us: "Are you feeling better now?", "Isn't this [current activity] fun?", "You should smile more", etc... "What is your favorite [anything]" or "What do you enjoy doing?" are also horrible questions. I don't enjoy doing anything as I feel like a worthless piece of shit and can't feel happy thus nothing is fun. How am I supposed to come up with a favorite anything when everything is a chore?

Some of us don't want to drag down those closest to them (assuming there is anyone still close after we've slowly pushed everyone else away by being a buzz kill and a downer). I don't want my parents thinking they've screwed up and it's their fault I'm depressed, but I also don't want them bugging me about it or worry about me. I'd feel even worse for making them worry.

If you want to know more about what it feels like to be depressed, checkout this web comic (especially #69 "How Are you?"). Someone at /. referred me to it: http://depressioncomix.tumblr.com/ It's very good.

P.S. I told someone I was depressed last week. She didn't believe me and said she couldn't tell if I was joking because I'm very hard to read. I'm hard to read because my emotions are gone. There's nothing to read. In the past she's even said multiple times that I should smile more. Aren't those two things clues? I'm in college and many people tell me I'm hard to read and should smile more. Some advice: If you find someone who never smiles and is hard to read, you're probably trying too hard to read them.

I was going to start taking antidepressants in the fall, but I made the mistake of starting to read Anatomy of an Epidemic. Now I don't know how to get my life back together. I've been depressed since I hit the double digits; about 1.5 decades ago :'(

Re:Another idea. (4, Insightful)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year and a half ago | (#40992207)

I was going to start taking antidepressants in the fall, but I made the mistake of starting to read Anatomy of an Epidemic. Now I don't know how to get my life back together. I've been depressed since I hit the double digits; about 1.5 decades ago :'(

People are very vocal about horror stories, but success stories don't get as much attention. I started taking antidepressants (Prozac and Wellbutrin) last year after about five years of depression, and have been feeling much better since then with minimal side effects. There are lots of different drugs, so if you have trouble with side effects from one you can try switching to another. You should also find a good therapist whether you take medication or not. If you have a primary care physician, they can also provide information and advice, and might be able to prescribe antidepressants if you can't find or afford a psychiatrist that you like/trust enough.

Please don't condemn yourself to another 15 years of depression because of a pop science book. I can almost guarantee you that staying mentally ill will be worse for your body than any hypothetical consequences from taking antidepressants.

Re:Another idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993295)

I took Wellbutrin back in 2000 because my insurance company would cover that, but not Zyban. After about a week, I was ready to crawl out of my skin. I thought people were plotting against me and were coming to get me. That experience has biased me against antidepressants.

Re:Another idea. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993645)

If I had mod points, this post would be getting them.

This dude is absolutely right. It's absolutely worth it to muster up all the will power and motivation you have to seeing a doctor and working with them to find medication that works for you without giving you more problems than you started off with. Once I willed myself into actually getting some help my doctor and I managed to quite quickly find a drug and dosage that actually worked for me. I wouldn't say I was depression free, but I found it much easier to deal with. The only side effects I got were a decrease in libido (and as I haven't gotten any in some years, it was actually kinda welcome) and some really vivid dreams, which were actually kinda cool.

There are lots of different drugs, so if you have trouble with side effects from one you can try switching to another.

Here's where it gets shitty. The trial and error period makes it easy to give in to despair and quit entirely. You've got to steel yourself and push through it. I'm in the shitty situation at the moment where the medication I've been taking has stopped working. We've tried an increased dose, but alas, no improvement. It's been a while since I've seen my doctor (I want to see my doctor, not some arsehole who doesn't know me...) and I've sunk back into a fairly dark place. I've lost a lot of my support base recently and I just feel like I'm never going to not feel like shit. It's going to take some serious effort on my part to push through this test phase again.

You should also find a good therapist whether you take medication or not. If you have a primary care physician, they can also provide information and advice, and might be able to prescribe antidepressants if you can't find or afford a psychiatrist that you like/trust enough.

Therapy works wonders for some, but god dammit, it's even more taxing on your mental state to find one that actually works for you. You spend a session bringing up all your anguish and painful memories, the tell you nothing of value or just ask how it makes you feel (I have depression, it makes me feel like a sack of shit) and then your time is up and they send you away with all that shit you brought up running circles in your mind and nothing to comfort you. It can be the most crushing and demoralising thing.

That probably doesn't make you want to go see a therapist. It's not my intention to scare you out of it, but more to warn you so you can take steps to mitigate the effects of a bad therapy session. Try to catch up with friends you enjoy being with some time after the session. Not immediately after, but a few hours after. Go do something you enjoy. Go to your favorite bakery. Anything. Try to find something to look forward to after the session. If the session goes well, fucking awesome! You can celebrate with some kick-ass cake. If it doesn't, well at least there's still kick-ass cake.

If you have a bad session, take some time before you try another therapist and try to lose any jaded and cynical feelings you may have towards them.

Please don't condemn yourself to another 15 years of depression because of a pop science book. I can almost guarantee you that staying mentally ill will be worse for your body than any hypothetical consequences from taking antidepressants.

I hope my post hasn't scared you out of seeking help. It's absolutely worth it to give these things a shot. But I also think it's worth knowing that it isn't always easy, and when things don't go right they can just make you feel so much worse, but also that you can do things to lessen the extent to which it can do so. I kind of want to delete this entire thing because, well, maybe I'm hurting, not helping, and frankly who would want to read anything I have to say? But maybe that's my depression getting the better of me... fuck it. This can be my victory for today.

Re:Another idea. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993857)

Anyone that feels like this... GET HELP from a qualified professional. This stuff isn't exactly dark magic anymore, and more people than you know are living good lives because of it.

I've had minor bouts of depression. I don't mean, "I'm really sad right now because something happened that made me sad." I mean, "Jesus... I feel miserable in a way I never have before and I want to shoot myself. And worse, I have no good reason to feel that way. My life isn't bad enough that I should feel like this... what the fuck?!"

I never found a good way to describe it other than it felt like being really sick, only nothing hurt. "Sick" like you can tell something is horribly wrong with you and you just feel like you want to die for no good, rational reason. When you feel "off", multiply that and make it feel permanent.

I did (thankfully) get over it without medication, but I was already talking to certain friends about finding an appropriate doctor. Under no circumstances would I have suffered that for any longer than I did. There was obviously something chemically wrong with me, and that means something needed fixing.

Toughing it out any longer than I did would have ended very badly.

Re:Another idea. (1)

metacell (523607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994261)

This dude is absolutely right. It's absolutely worth it to muster up all the will power and motivation you have to seeing a doctor and working with them to find medication that works for you without giving you more problems than you started off with.

Assuming the doctor is able to do that, and willing to expend the time and effort. You could also get a medication that makes you worse. You could end up with a diagnosis which is a social stigma, and makes it harder for you to find work or deal with the authorities. You may get a diagnosis or treatment without knowing it, because the doctor either forgets or doesn't think it's important to tell you when he changes either of them. Once you seek mental health care, people around you tend to treat you as less reliable and dismiss everything you say, which makes it even harder to get the right treatment.

Seeking treatment for mental health issues constitutes a risk, both in terms of medical side effects, and in terms of the social stigma, and you have to weigh that risk against the possible benefits.

Re:Another idea. (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994581)

I'm in the shitty situation at the moment where the medication I've been taking has stopped working. We've tried an increased dose, but alas, no improvement.

This is a pretty well-known phenomenon, it's known by psychiatrists as the "Prozac poop-out". After a while, the antidepressant just stops working. It seems to be particularly common among bipolar patients, to the point that some psychiatrists actually consider it a sign that you're dealing with bipolar, rather than classic depression http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/02_diagnosis.html [psycheducation.org] . And if the doctor you're seeing doesn't know about this, you should seriously consider a different doctor.

Re:Another idea. (1)

metacell (523607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994077)

I've taken antidepressants, with limited success. They made me drowsy, which helped me sleep better, but apart from that, they only changed my mood in a superficial way. They didn't help me handle daily life any better. When my sleep was better, taking them was not worth the side effects.

Modern anti-depressants (SSRI) only help some people. The're widely used because the side effects are relatively mild, not because the success rate is very high.

Re:Another idea. (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994721)

I can almost guarantee you that staying mentally ill will be worse for your body than any hypothetical consequences from taking antidepressants.

The issues with antidepressants aren't just hypothetical. The FDA found reports of suicide associated with antidepressant use serious enough to include a "black box" warning to the effect that antidepressants can cause an increase in suicidal thinking. That's not a minor issue, that the drug you're taking to make yourself feel better might actually make you suicidal. Another issue- when given to people with bipolar disorder, antidepressants can actually cause mania, and some researchers believe this can cause the disorder to actually get worse over time. The problem here is that some forms of bipolar (bipolar II) are easily mistaken for depression, since the symptoms are primarily depression, and the ups aren't as obvious as bipolar I. Another issue is that antidepressants can cause what they call discontinuation syndrome- that is, withdrawal effects. For some it's not too bad; Prozac takes a long time to wash out of your system so it's a naturally slow withdrawal, but for others that filter rapidly out of the bloodstream, the withdrawal is really hellish.

I'm not saying you should never take antidepressants, but these are very powerful chemicals we're talking about, so you really need to be careful. That means be sure you're working with a good psychiatrist, not your primary care physician, who simply does not have the know-how to diagnose and treat serious mental illnesses. That means doing a lot of reading as well- educate yourself about what you're up against and what the treatments are.

And it's a good idea to consider the various alternative/complementary treatments. Things like exercise, meditation, EPA (the active stuff in fish oil), supplementation with zinc, B12, folic acid, vitamin D. The thinking here is that these things have an attractive risk-reward profile. That is, the evidence for these things isn't fantastic (although that could be because there's not a multibillion dollar fish-oil industry sponsoring clinical research) and while they might help a little, they probably won't be miracle cures. On the other hand, they're cheap and because they're stuff that you consume anyway, they're unlikely to do much harm. They're worth giving a shot if you don't think things are quite dire enough to require medication but you aren't feeling great. Alternatively, if you do need medication, they may improve its effectiveness.

Re:Another idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993567)

Some things can be hidden, but others should be obvious to anyone educated. The symptoms are so obvious that a psychologist could probably diagnose you by speaking with you for 5 minutes.

Some symptoms that are hard to hide:
* Sudden weight changes, especially undereating--unless you have a dog to hide the excess food on your plate, this should be obvious to any parent
* Changes in sleep patterns, especially waking often in the middle of the night--kids sleep a lot, but not in the middle of the day or for 12 hr or more periods
* Physical complaints--headaches, back pain, etc.
* Irritableness--this is probably the hardest one to hide
* Isolation
* Slowed movements and emotional responses or agitation and hypersensitivity
* School performance decline--in my case I went from an A to A+ student to a C to a C- student in high school in one semester because I wouldn't do the homework, it was too tiring. I had two depressive episodes when I was going through college, in the first I was put on academic probation (the previous semester I was on the honor roll) and then I dropped out. The second time (new school) I dropped out to save my GPA. Looking through my records, I know exactly when I was depressed by my grades (2nd semester of 8th grade, 1st semester of 11th grade, 2nd semester sophomore in college, and 2nd semester junior (equivalent due to transfer) in college).

There are a shitload of things that happen during depression. Anyone who has even a remote clue about depression will cue into these immediately. If a person puts on a 'happy' face, you can confuse your family. But not talking about emptiness and sadness is only one symptom of many. A depressed person is not likely to have the energy to be able to hide the other symptoms.

Re:Another idea. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993685)

I'm not sure, seeing as you're posting as an AC, if you'll ever see this. I spent a large portion of my late teens and early twenties slowly cycling through periods of depression and happiness. it was somewhat seasonal, with winters being especially hard, and a burst of energy happening in the spring, but for the most part, the low times hit when they wanted. It drove me nuts, left me feeling worthless, and no matter how hard i felt i was trying, it felt like I couldn't do enough. I'd spend hours channel surfing or playing flash games, just to kill time and stave off bordom and sadness. Thing is, that just fed into it more. So I'm not a therapist, and my advice is anecdotal, but maybe it'll help you.

After breaking up with a girl for the second time, I hit bottom so hard that I think i bounced. It gave me the energy to get back to grad school, which i had been planning on, with no real planning effort, for four years. Getting into grad school wasn't the change, but it has helped. The change was that I ended up in a position that lacked the safety nets that I had surrounded myself with. With the support of my family and friends, I moved to a new city, that lacked both family and friends. I moved in with roommates to make sure that I wasn't constantly alone, and while they are nice, they aren't as good as my old friends. But here's the change. The lack of my friends and family left me completely raw. I had no one to hide with, no one to tell me that i wasn't insane, and that of course I'm doing the best I can. It wasn't easy, it wasn't fun. It was raw though. It meant I had to deal with myself, by myself. It did, however, offer the chance to change these things about myself without having to prove it to anyone else. If i found something I didn't like, it wasn't a part of the "me, here." So that's part of it.

The part that really helped, and I think most people could benefit from regardless, is to let yourself be bored. Moving out here, I lost television. We couldnt afford cable, and decided to go without it. On top of this, my computer died on the trip. It was terrible. I still had access to email through my phone, but the interface was terrible, and made the whole experience unpleasant. There was no channel surfing or website surfing available. I spent a day or two in absolute, painful boredom, before getting fed up and starting to find things to do around the house. I started cleaning my room, taking the time to actually fold stuff and put it away. I took the time to clean up my bike, to take the time to do basic maintenance - simple stuff, oil the chain, replace a flat. I had ample free time now, so I would waste it by walking to the store instead of driving (i only live about a half mile from it, so i should be walking anyway...) A strange thing happened. I started to get more and more done, the more busy I was. By allowing myself to get truly bored, I was forced to confront it and do something about it. For about 4 years, that was spent playing exceptionally bad casual games and masturbating. Those left me feeling slightly less bored but never really stopped it. they just took the edge off. This new life... this felt good.

It may not cure your depression, but I cannot imagine that getting rid of the things that let you wallow in boredom would hurt. There's a difference between winding down and tuning out. tune in and wind down. It feels amazing.

Best of luck

captcha: remorse. Not that I feel any today.

Re:Another idea. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993875)

I do watch for responses to my posts (not that anyone can tell it's the same AC).

I used to waste tons of time watching TV and playing video games. Eventually the games were no longer fun and I started feeling bad when playing them as I knew there were more important things that needed to get done. As for TV, I ended up watching everything I wanted to watch. Every sifi show (STs, A, FS, SGs, B5, etc...) except BG, all the old shows I watched as a kid, and tons of movies. I watch much less movies now, but still a few per week. I used to regularly do two a day! I slept between 3-6 hours a day. That's how I could not fail out of school yet still waste so much time. I've been trying to turn this bad habit into something more productive. Moving away from fiction and going towards documentaries and audio books. When listening to audio books, I find it easier to do normal tasks around the apartment (cleaning, cooking, etc...).

I never hit a rock bottom; just failed at suicide and wandered around. My suicide attempt was through starvation and dehydration and I went long enough to pass out from it (2.5 days). You can't get more lazy than that. After getting fired for coming in late to work, I eventually got accepted to a grad program (wanting to move out of my parents house gave me that energy). I don't have family support and don't talk enough to have supporting friends (though it is harder for me to say I have no friends, I might now). I speak very little to any of my current or past roommates. Sometimes I hide in my room and skip dinner to avoid them (I don't know why). After that suicide attempt, going hungry no longer bothers me. What I'm getting at is that I never hide with anyone except myself. I'm the only one who looks out for me.

You're right that tuning in and winding down instead of down and out is better, but that's been such a hard habit to reform.

Thanks for posting, and everyone else too.

Re:Another idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994395)

Common perception of depression is seriously wrong. Depression isn't grief but learned helplessness.

Traumatic events very rarely depress people. Trying to cheer up, find something that really interests oneself, or take hold of one's life, and failing repeteadly does. It just teaches by repetition that there's nothing you can do with your life. You're hopeless.

The opposite of being depressed isn't being cheerful (it's opposite is sadness) but feeling that you can master your own life and choices. One problem with caring friends is that it only makes you feel more dependent and helpless.

There's no fast cure but there are cures that work and getting rid of depression is always worth it. Seek professional help.

Re:Another idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994623)

Congratulations, that is an awesome post. You may like this, I've always found it very good at explaining depression to others - http://bigthink.com/ideas/17869 .

On the subject of medication, thats a very personal choice and isn't right for everyone. I'm on them, and it has helped me establish some equilibrium in my head so that I can now go about focussing my energy positively towards feeling well again. It should never be used as the answer - it should be used to get you to the point where you feel able to make changes and start feeling good again.

Best of luck.

Re:Another idea. (2)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991653)

OK, dismiss the AC above for not reading the article carefully.

I did. I get that it's about browsing patterns and style, not browser history.

Now how about you explain to me why a parent who needs a computer to tell them that their child is suffering from depression, is doing a good job of staying involved with their child's emotional condition? Hiding depression from strangers and casual acquaintances and even classmates/coworkers is easy. I know. Hiding it from someone who has known you your entire life, whom you live with... not so much. If parents don't know enough about the signs of depression to recognize them in their child... how does that not fall under "failing as a parent"?

Re:Another idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40992039)

Hiding depression from strangers and casual acquaintances and even classmates/coworkers is easy. I know. Hiding it from someone who has known you your entire life, whom you live with... not so much.

I am a different anon. You have no idea. My parents are what most people considered successful- all their kids gone to top universities, relatively wealthy, young, nice, close to their kids, etc. I love them and they love me back.

But they have no idea what I am really thinking. It's like I am the Christopher Bale from America Psycho, except I don't fantasize lobbing people off with an axe (at least, not unless I am very depress).

Re:Another idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991679)

Its invasive and should not even be considered as rational behavior.

Re:Another idea. (1)

metacell (523607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994003)

The problem is that those suffering from depression may do a lot, even subconsciously, to cover some of the obvious signs of depression from those closest to them. Add on to the fact that most people don't know enough about the signs of depression and it can be hard at times to easily recognize them.

So the Internet usage statistics might not work if the subject is aware they're being watched. They'd either fake their usage patterns, or go somewhere where they're not being watched, like the school or a public library.

And even if it worked, I think it's a spectacularly bad idea, because the invasion of privacy hurts the trust between parent and child.

This is all the summary needed to include (5, Insightful)

arnoldo.j.nunez (1300907) | about a year and a half ago | (#40990979)

The relevant excerpt:

It turns out that very specific patterns of internet use are reliably related to depressive tendencies. For example, peer-to-peer file sharing, heavy emailing and chatting online, and a tendency to quickly switch between multiple websites and other online resources all predict a greater propensity to experience symptoms of depression. Although the exact reasons that these behaviors predict depression is unknown, each behavior corresponds with previous research on depression. Quickly switching between websites may reflect anhedonia (a decreased ability to experience emotions), as people desperately seek for emotional stimulation. Similarly, excessive emailing and chatting may signify a relative lack of strong face-to-face relationships, as people strive to maintain contact either with faraway friends or new people met online.

Sounds like it's easy to dismiss on first glance. How do you define heavy emailing? Heavy emailing could be a symptom of a job that demands good communication skills -- which would you lead you to believe that the person is not depressed and functioning normally.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991055)

Could browsing blogsites like Slashdot be considered "heavy emailing" if you tend to post a lot?

Heck, I probably fit that pattern. Matter of fact, I fit most of the stuff the article noted.

Where do I sign up for my disability check?

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (1)

maxdread (1769548) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991143)

Which is why I assume it wasn't the ONLY indication mentioned.

MOD PARENT +1 INSIGHTFUL!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991225)

this dude woulda saved me reading the fucking article

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991289)

Sounds like it's easy to dismiss on first glance. How do you define heavy emailing?

That which is beyond a threshold deviation from the mean.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (2)

kubernet3s (1954672) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991485)

Moreover, why exactly is chatting and emailing "striving to maintain contact" as opposed to "contact." Why does having friends online, if you clearly enjoy them enough to talk to them heavily, mean you're sad?

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991903)

Its the replacement of online contact for in-person contact that has been widely known as a warning sign for quite some time.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#40992131)

I think its more that "heavy" chatting and emailing correlates to having less such contact IRL (people with face-to-face relationships don't spend as much time maintaining online ones), and that having few IRL relationships correlates to depression.

It's not "having online friends makes you sad" its "having no IRL friends makes you sad". Measuring the degree of communication with online friends is just a simple heuristic for determining if someone has many face-to-face friends.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991685)

People become depressed when not interacting IRL. News at 11.

And people get paid to publish this obvious shit. Sheesh!

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991689)

Also, the study seems to ignore cultural differences between children from different parts of the world. A good plugin would take that into account when emailing recommendations to parents:

USA: "Your 6 year old has been emailing santaclaus@northpole.com heavily and therefore seems depressed. Hide your guns and ammo immediately!"

South Korea: "Your child used an online chatroom for a total of 23 minutes last week. Perhaps 16 hours of studying per day is not enough."

Saudi Arabia: "Your daughter has accessed the Internet! Kill the whore now before she dishonors your family."

etc...

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991715)

This reads pretty much like my after work non weekend time.
When I get home I browse around, email and message people and watch movies or series.
Switching between websites would indicate to me that that person is bored out of their mind and looking for something interesting.
Emailing and chatting probably means that person either doesn't want to spend hours on the phone.
And peer to peer file sharing seems to indicate a disregard for copyright law.

This sounds more like a way to identify single people.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991719)

Now try to define Internet usage without file-sharing, emailing, chatting, and visiting different web pages. What's LEFT? Watching the screensaver?

Browsed the PDF and it's no better...

"The correlation observed between peer-to-peer usage and depressive symptoms is intuitive. Sharing files like music, movies, photos etc. are primary reasons for using peer-to-peer services. Students are prone to be addicted to such kinds of content, which may explain this trend."

OK, when I see the word "intuitive", it's an automatic 10 on my bullshit meter. How do you measure "addicted to this kind of content"? Grandma likes to see photos and videos of the kiddies, too, how come she isn't depressed? And again, WTF else should people be sharing peer-to-peer besides "music, movies, photos, etc."? You only need to grab a fresh Linux distro once in a while.

I smell big industry trying to paint media piracy as a mental illness.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (1)

jmcvetta (153563) | about a year and a half ago | (#40993739)

I smell big industry trying to paint media piracy as a mental illness.

This.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40992449)

I am a sociology major, so really good at debunking survey methedelogy, statistical flaws in models etc. I know that my one anecdote is not quantitative, but qualitative, and the sample size is too small. But I have to also say that I have a psychiatric illness and the study seems to draw useful correlations. Bear in mind that the DSM (the diagnosis manual is art rather than science, in part because it's driven by self-reports and associate's reports rather than by blood tests. I agree that this kind of analysis never ever should be used as the sole determinator. But it is a valuable determinator in addition to other criteria. Bear in mind also that a person who has these symptoms doesn't necessarily need meds, just friends and comfort.. obviously. They need friends and comfort.

Re:This is all the summary needed to include (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994419)

It turns out that very specific patterns of internet use are reliably related to depressive tendencies. For example, peer-to-peer file sharing,

So the next time the RIAA sues you, you'll have the defence of not being liable because that's just a symptom of your depression, and there's nothing you can do about it? :-)

Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (1, Troll)

grasshoppa (657393) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991029)

Anymore, everyone's child is a special snow flake who's failures aren't his or her fault, but rather society's and their own designer mental illness ( ADD, ADHD, autism ).

That's just what we need; to arm these arm chair shrinks with more reasons why their special little one is fucked up, and get them amped up on the latest "Make Normal" drug.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991059)

Anymore, everyone's child is a special snow flake who's failures aren't his or her fault, but rather society's and their own designer mental illness ( ADD, ADHD, autism ).

That's just what we need; to arm these arm chair shrinks with more reasons why their special little one is fucked up, and get them amped up on the latest "Make Normal" drug.

But if you tell parents "Ma'am, you kid's just a fuck up, and it's probably your fault." then won't give you money.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991237)

Anymore, everyone's child is a special snow flake who's failures aren't his or her fault, but rather society's and their own designer mental illness ( ADD, ADHD, autism ).

That's just what we need; to arm these arm chair shrinks with more reasons why their special little one is fucked up, and get them amped up on the latest "Make Normal" drug.

But if you tell parents "Ma'am, you kid's just a fuck up, and it's probably your fault." then won't give you money.

And they won't buy your self-help book ...

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991155)

Depression is real. There are chemical and electrical changes in the brain.

People like you are why I am still so fucked up. My parents thought like you. When I was a kid I went to a doctor for bronchitis and he told my father that he thought I was depressed. The response was to be yelled at and threatened to be kicked out of the house, which eventually happened. Before I was kicked out my 'treatment' was to talk with a 'life coach' friend of his about my attitude. A psychologist or therapist was never considered because that was pseudoscience to him.

Fast forward 15 years and I was diagnosed with depression, BPD, BDD, and social phobia. This is shit that could have been treated more effectively when I was young. It is shit that the longer you have it the harder it is to change your course. It is also shit that would have been covered under my parent's insurance plans.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (1)

nomadic (141991) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991261)

Yep, there are noticeable changes in the brain from depression, and the more depressive periods you have the worse off you are long-term. A great book on depression is Peter Kramer's Against Depression, which summarizes a lot of the current research on the mechanisms of depression and the effect it has on the physical structure of the brain: http://www.amazon.com/Against-Depression-Peter-D-Kramer/dp/0143036963/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344986854&sr=8-1&keywords=peter+kramer [amazon.com] Highly recommended.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991435)

mod -1 cry baby

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991933)

boohoo

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#40992693)

I wonder if you can sue your parents for neglect and abuse, which is obviously causing you long term trouble and probably costing money via meds.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (4, Interesting)

dudpixel (1429789) | about a year and a half ago | (#40993547)

I still wonder if medicine has the cause-and-effect mixed up a bit. The chemicals in the brain can be reactive, and higher levels of any of them could be a symptom of something else. The brain manufactures its own serotonin, so any increase or decrease must also have a cause. These chemical levels should not be viewed in isolation.

Based on my own experience, I tend to think that the changes had a psychological cause, and so one should attempt a psychological treatment as a first option.

Obviously every case is different, so I'm not saying drugs aren't necessary for some. But treating the chemical imbalance as if it is the cause just seems wrong to me. It doesn't answer the question of where these chemicals come from (the brain makes them) and why (something causes the brain to make more).

A normal, healthy brain regulates its own chemicals and neurons etc.

A depressed brain tends to have a negative feedback loop where something triggers a drop in serotonin (or other chemicals) and that in turn makes you "sad", which then results in a further drop in seroronin, and so on. When you are actually depressed, the initial cause is probably long gone, and sometimes it may need external help to re-stabilise everything (although I never got that far along, I always seemed to restabilise naturally after a few weeks. the exhaustion tended to allow my body/brain to recover). I'm not an expert in it so I can only go by my experience.

Eventually you start to become aware of some of the "triggers" that set you off, and once you recognise them, you can start to work around them. Your brain forms pathways, and it is just like tracks in soft dirt I suppose (not literally). The more times you take that path, the deeper the rut becomes, making it harder to take a different path next time. But you can use this same principle to your advantage. When you sense that you are heading down the wrong pathway, try focussing on positive, self-reassuring things, and see if you can focus on your good qualities and things you are proud of yourself for. You may have heard people talk about re-wiring your brain - that is effectively what this positive thinking can do. You form new neural pathways by the way you think, but naturally your brain forms habits and if you have pathways leading to depression it will default to those pathways. It is not an easy task trying to change this, and you should not expect it to be easy.

I live by the motto that nothing worthwhile in life is ever easy.

For me it was positive self-talk, and regular contact with friends that really helped. It isn't a miracle cure, but once you find something that makes you feel good about yourself, keep working on it. Celebrate your wins, and ignore/forget your losses. By this I mean, make it a big deal if you experience something positive, but don't beat yourself up if you fail. I also tackled some tasks that I had previously thought I could never do (public speaking, making new friends, etc) and I was able to focus on my successes and use those as a strength to look back on and be proud of myself. From there I found that when I came across difficulty and found myself sinking, I could turn the situation around by thinking positive (eg. 'I can do it, I've done it before, I'm stronger than this, I know I can win' etc).

The goal is to truly believe in yourself, and not require external feedback in order to feel good about yourself. It is difficult, and you may never master it, but remember that every win is one less loss, and a part of a better life.

It's good to know the science behind it, but I don't think medical science can find all the answers without acknowledging the role of psychologists and counsellors.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991273)

Yep, telling your kid that they're failures has always been a great way to turn them into educated, stable, confident adults.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991315)

You have to remember to beat them too.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991807)

Yep, telling your kid that they're failures has always been a great way to turn them into educated, stable, confident adults.

Ttelling them they are smart and winners is at least as bad. The best current advice seems to be to tell them that failing is part of the process of succeeding and is nothing to be ashamed of. [nytimes.com]

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993369)

You're supposed to tell them nice job at working so hard. That way pass or fail, they learn to work hard at whatever it is they're trying to do and end up succeeding in life due to a good work ethic.

Re:Wow, what a remarkably BAD idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994191)

That article is absolute garbage. Seriously bad. It's easier to let a young child stumble than a teenager go to the mall? Really!?!? An infant taking a slight fall can break their neck, and have no concept how of a big fall (from a great height) differs from a stumble. If you haven't taught your teenager how to be safe in a shopping center by the time they're old enough to go you're a moron who's doomed to fail!

How does it work for toilet training? Pretend it's no big deal and watch them make no forward progress?

The article is written by a parent who wishes to be aloof but is trying to justify it to himself.

What you do is tell your child the truth. Praise and reinforce necessary accomplishments, but give rewards and heap praise on for doing something unexpectedly difficult or original. Don't praise mediocre effort or results.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991049)

Google now knows if you're depressed

Also (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991073)

I've noticed a correlation between getting depressed and reading dupes [slashdot.org] .

--
I don't usually reply to gweihir (88907) either. So there.

detecting bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991091)

Their followup study will be on detecting bullshit on how fast a user closes the web page with their research.

That's All Fine And Dandy.... (5, Interesting)

babywhiz (781786) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991131)

I would prefer to see someone research radical changing of desktop configurations possibly indicating brain aneurysms. I have noticed twice in my working career that people that suddenly change their background color to something like magenta, or fiddle around with the size of their text non-stop (aka one day they contact support because the text is too small, next day they contact support because the text is too big.) end up within 6 months being in the hospital because of a brain aneurysm. No Joke.

Re:That's All Fine And Dandy.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991623)

When I started reading your post,

I would prefer to see someone research radical changing of desktop configurations possibly indicating brain aneurysms.

I though you were going to talk about Steve Ballmer and the Windows 8 Metro user interface.

predicting being a teenager ? (1)

KernelMuncher (989766) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991235)

"peer-to-peer file sharing, heavy emailing and chatting online, and a tendency to quickly switch between multiple websites and other online resources all predict a greater propensity to experience symptoms of depression" All of that sounds like normal teenager behavior in 2012. And seriously, what teenager isn't depressed. Their faces are all spotty, they have to sit in Trigonometry class, won't have gratuitous sex until college, curfew, living with parents, can't drink alcohol, etc. Just remembering all of that makes ME depressed.

Re:predicting being a teenager ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991413)

Just remembering all of that makes ME depressed.

No, it makes you feel sad and perhaps anxious. It does not make you depressed. Sadness is but one symptom of depression (it isn't always a symptom). And depression is something that typically lasts 12 months untreated and 6 months treated. It is not something you get because of some random memory.

Employers (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991245)

The potential of these studies is always framed in terms of identifying victims of depression so that they can be helped, but the truth (in the U.S. anyway) is that this will be turned into a screening method for employment, insurance, and law enforcement purposes.

I dunno.... (0)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991259)

I think somebody when somebody googles something along the lines of what is a good way to kill myself, or something similar, there's a pretty good chance that said person is depressed.

In the end.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991263)

They found depression was only due to BBC rss feeds:
Death
Death
Murder
Death
Mars
Sports
Austerity
Death
Sport and Death

Depressing Parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991381)

Parents using software to monitor their adolescents. How depressingly stupid!

Correlating large volume of e-mail with depression (1)

0x25 (90552) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991415)

I know what the correlation is.

If you are on the administrative mailing list that receives all mail delivered to root (and other automatons) from all your servers; you will also develop depression. Especially after a weekend of Servers Gone Wild.

Considering that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991519)

The current method of diagnosis is either self diagnosis (which gets treated feebly in most cases) or crisis and is usually associated with criminal charges where treatment can become funded by different agencies at many levels. I'm sure that the ability to preempt criminality will be welcomed by all levels of health care and judicial funding.

Learned Optimism (4, Interesting)

Talinom (243100) | about a year and a half ago | (#40991563)

The path out of depression has been well documented in Dr. Martin Seligman's book Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. He has spent 30 years of his life in the field of positive psychology and has multiple case studies showing how people can get over "learned helplessness" in all three realms of personal, pervasive and permanent.

http://www.amazon.com/Learned-Optimism-Change-Your-Mind/dp/1400078393/ [amazon.com]

He has a talk on Ted:
http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology.html [ted.com]

And a website with some questionnaires:
http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx [upenn.edu]

To use Chris Farley, who unfortunately committed suicide due to depression, as an example I provide three typical phrases that he would use in his work:
Personal: I suck!
Pervasive: Everything sucks!
Permanent: It will always suck!

Please note that motivational speakers are typically all optimists and people who are unmotivated go to them for a "motivational fix" which lasts for about two weeks without optimism to back it. See also the typical person who starts a diet, exercise regimen or other self improvement plan.

Re:Learned Optimism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40992015)

I used to be depressed but then I started thinking about all the people in the world and how they are depressed or unhappy.

I thought about how there is something fundamentally wrong with them, and also, how there are many things that they should to do, to improve their lives.

The more I thought about this, the better I felt.

Now, I never have to worry about depression again.

You don’t need a book, you need the right attitude.

Re:Learned Optimism (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | about a year and a half ago | (#40993573)

I agree.

The right attitude will be the cure for many, but how to get into that frame of mind will be different for everyone.

For me it was all about celebrating my wins and forgetting my losses. Self-belief needs reasons to believe, and you sometimes have to take a chance and try new things before you find out your strengths. Once you find the things you're good at, those are the reasons to believe in yourself. Make this a positive-feedback loop, the opposite to depression.

The moment will come when you look in the mirror and looking back at you is a strong person who is proud of who they are and how far they have come.

Keep on winning :-)

Re:Learned Optimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993277)

Seligman also believed (and his research supported) the theory of Learned Helplessness, which was later countered by experiments which showed that 'normal' people have a tendency to overestimate the degree to which they can control the world around them. People who have learned to cope with depression, on the other hand, show a greater tendency to realistically assess their circumstance and the degree to which they are in control. See: A First Rate Madness [amazon.com] in which the author, Nassir Ghaemi, discusses the possible advantages that so-called mental illness or abnormal personality traits may confer on those who serve as leaders in times of crises.

I'm not so sure I believe that pills and the thrills of therapy (manipulated conformity) should be dictated to everyone who appears 'abnormal' solely because they engage in behavior which someone correlates to possible depression. What if depression is a normal response to a broken society and we're just trying to force people to accept a broken world rather than explore the possible remedies to an unhealthy existence?

Furthermore the following quote from TFA in Scientific American sounds like someone hired Orwell's ghost to write an encore.

An intervention as simple as tracking internet use may allow depression, a prevalent and dangerous illness, to be discovered and treated earlier, more effectively, and for more people.

Re:Learned Optimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993315)

"I will always suck at everything"

FTFY

Re:Learned Optimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993671)

Chris Farley did not commit suicide. It was a drug overdose with advanced heart disease as a contributing factor.

Re:Learned Optimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994267)

Depression can be a sane response to reality. The way out may be Matrix-style self-delusion (typically by means of substance "abuse"), but some of us are not up to it.

I would rephrase your three points as follows:

Personal: I don't suck. I am comfortable with who I am. I admit to being lazy and I crave instant gratification.

Pervasive: Not everything sucks. However, the bulk of life is spent on overhead. There are good moments but the negatives outweigh the positives.

Permanent: Realistically, things are getting worse. I'm getting older. I have started developing ailments. My loved ones, who are also getting older, might require me taking care of them, which adds to the overhead portion of life.

In other words, life only has so much to offer. So far, it has failed to impress.

More clever algo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991601)

Oh, no! I was just about to read the fiasco of $450M screw up by an "Algo" and I see more of "we can do this_and_that with our clever algo assholery " (I just improvised on the two popular related words)

police state mentality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991641)

" I wonder if this could be a new Firefox plug-in, designed to help parents detect depression in their adolescents by tracking the mechanics (not the sites) and automatically emailing them if their ward is showing increasing signs of depression"

Can anyone say fascist? You sure have a lot of confidence in their precision and accuracy. I suppose u'd like a camera crammed up their back passages to monitor fecal flow as well.

Annoying Facebook Ad targeting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991893)

Getting way too much Facebook "depression survey" targeted ads. Is it because "liked" /. on FB?

I can't be the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40991895)

whose parents wouldn't give a rat's ass if I was depressed or not.

This is senseless. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#40992571)

If your teenage child is *not* feeling depressed, you need to be concerned. For fuck's sake, as much a part of life being depressed is for adults, it's a damn near obligatory for a teenager. Being a teenager is shitty. Homework, bullies, fights, hormones, dating, sex, broken homes, abuse, shitty educations, shitty school systems, apathetic teachers, discovering your own views on the world and your own personality apart from your up-bringing and peer-group, grades, scholarships, college worries. If your kid is depressed, has mood swings, or even has entertained the idea of suicide, guess what -- THEY'RE JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER TEENAGER WHO HAS EVER EXISTED.

Re:This is senseless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993063)

You don't understand what depression is. Every kid has shitty things happen, but only a fraction of them get clinically depressed. You're referring to the transient low moods that most people feel, but depression is a far more serious physical and mental state. You are ignorant.

Re:This is senseless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993761)

You sir are ignorant. How many go diagnosed/untreated. I am probably AD/HD. Doesn't mean I need that label or stigma. I am doing fine without it. Unrecognized != unaffected. There are also various grades of depression.

Re:This is senseless. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994571)

No, if you went by the professional community and the educator community, every teenager is a simmering pot of hostility looking to explode in an act of domestic terrorism or they're clinically depressed. Or both. Teenagers who are absolutely severely and clinically depressed to the point that urgent intervention is needed are pretty easy to spot to any parent or teacher who is even remotely observant. This isn't going to detect anything that they wouldn't already detect and raise concern over and nobody who can't be bothered enough to catch obvious signs of exceptional problems in their kid (beyond just the catastrophe that being a teenager is, to begin with) can't be bothered enough to use this (however you would implement it). Unless we're planning to have some other institution or agency foist it on people, in which case dealing with an individual's depressions becomes the last of our worries.

Paperclip (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year and a half ago | (#40992755)

"It looks like you're depressed. Would you like help with:"

[ ] Slitting your wrists.
[ ] Weeping morosely into a pint of beer.
[ ] Retreating into an endless cycle of binge eating and self-hatred.
[ ] Getting professional help.

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993029)

Phrenology returns. This doesn't help advance the idea that the analysis of people's behaviors is a science. Makes it look more like what it is, namely guessing. As is generally the case in considerations of mental health, there are clearly some individuals who are jacked up, schizophrenics, sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the like, but the seemingly obsessive compulsion show by members of the so-called mental health professions to classify every minor deviation from some imagined normality as a mental disorder is inconsistent with the notion that psychology and the like are sciences.

Now a single manifestation of thought patterns (what a person does with a computer) is being presumed to signify how a person's moods operate, (for most people have more than a single mood, depending upon circumstances, etc.) and they expect people to take them seriously, that's a riot... just as with extremes of behavior or other manifestations of thought, such as screaming while running down a public street naked swatting at imaginary giant pink polka-dotted dragons, if you log-on to the internet and search for nothing but things like "most effective way to kill myself" or "how to commit suicide with only a paperclip, a half bottle of aspirin, and a bar of soap" or the like, conclusions can be safely drawn about your mood, especially if this is the vast majority of your searches.

But if you search for other things as well, to presume from a cross-section of online searching or reading is going on a fishing expedition at a swimming pool, with an imaginary set of fishing tackle. You're not really going to catch anything, and you're just fooling yourself.

Missing the validation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993201)

From my reading of the paper, they analyzed one set of data and found a pattern. This leads to a hypothesis. The next step is to repeat with new data and verify the hypothesis is in fact a predictive rule. This second step seems to be missing and hence there seems nothing in particular to report.

Peer-to-peer filesharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40993221)

This was not exactly a strong article, but what hurt it most for me was the insertion of peer-to-peer filesharing at the top of the indicators. Explanation (often weak and cursory, but nonetheless explanation) was given for how the other indicators might relate to depression, but filesharing? Not a word.

Sad (1)

metacell (523607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40993907)

From the summary:

I wonder if this could be a new Firefox plug-in, designed to help parents detect depression in their adolescents by tracking the mechanics (not the sites) and automatically emailing them if their ward is showing increasing signs of depression."

It'd be really sad if a parent needed to do this to know something was wrong with their kid.

Not to mention, it'd give the kid the (correct) impression that the parent is snooping ON them instead of talking TO them.

Generalizing is dangerous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994271)

This kind of nonsense is incredibly dangerous and will probably lead to all sorts of medications being forced down the throats of young people who are perfectly normal. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if some pharmaceutical is paying for these studies.

How disgusting and unethical.

Err... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994417)

By using a cleverly embedded questionnaire that classifies the subject as depressed

What, every time? Seems a little harsh.

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