Social Media, depression and modernity.


You often hear about an epidemic of depression among teenagers due mainly to the growing isolation from social media. But the situation is only partly true: according to a systematic review of studies on the topic, including time spent online and depressive phenomena there is a weak link that is not, as you might expect, cause and effect. A group of psychologists at King’s College London (UK) analyzed 11 studies of social media and depression in boys up to 18 years, with data on 12,646 volunteers.

A small, but statistically significant relationship between social and depression is there, but the studies do not say whether mood disorders are the origin, or a result of time spent online. There may therefore be that the boys more prone to depression tend more easily to search online support and companionship they need. Another weak point of these studies is the fact that the data on hours spent in the virtual world are often provided by the participants themselves. The research, the authors, does not want to deny the insulation dangerousness due to a life spent more and more on the smartphone screen – with the risks linked to it: from cyber bullying to the lack of creativity and social interaction. But at the same time is an invitation not to read superficially studies on the topic. The reactions to technological changes are often exaggerated: in the 19th century was attributed to the movements “unnatural” induced by train the emergence of a kind of neurosis. At the same time, adolescence is an age delicate, and are often teenagers the protagonists of the changes brought by new technologies. The increase in sensitivity on the issue of depression could be one of the presumed growth causes of these phenomena.

Smartphones and social media have in part made life easier. But ironically, in the age of constant communication we are, in some ways, even more disconnected.

A web dialogue translation: “Do You have Facebook?” “No!” “Do You Twitter?” “No!” “Do You Whatsapp?” “No!” “So, what do you have you ??” “A life!” “Fantastic!!   I used to Candy Crash Instagram.


Today we grind the pictures taken on the phone with artificial filters; between the end of ‘700 and the’ 800 beginning, artists, travelers and landscape designers used to observe reality through another filter, known as Claude glass. It was a small convex mirror with black dyed surface, saturated colors and unified the details, allowing you to play more easily the scene on the small size of the canvas. The selfie. Even the most irreducible and foppish lover selfies would pale in front of the hundred self-portraits executed by Rembrandt (1606-1669), marking his physical and psychological development (especially that of recent years, where the Dutch painter appears very marked face).

The iPad. Wax tablets and pointed stylus allowed to the ancient Greeks and Romans to write and read the news before Steve Jobs conceived iPad. Of course, the cancellation of the screens required more time.

Twitter. The Latin poet Martial (40-104 A.D.) would not have any problem to chirp in 140 characters. It would indeed been one of the most influential voices and fun to follow. In his very short, lightning epigrams (short and punchy poems) spared fact stored and jokes to recipients, mostly concentrated in the second half of the verse.

Pinterest. Three hundred years before the birth of Pinterest, the British physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) collected natural specimens and other found during his travels (especially in Jamaica). His collection of objects (not photo! Interesting) became the nucleus of the British Museum in London. Besides the passion for collections, we have probably another discovery: it is said to have been the first to bring the hot chocolate in the UK, and to replace the milk with water to be able to eat after lunch. 3D printers.

The first 3D scanner of the story? It was invented in 1859 by French François Willeme, father of “Photosculpture”: in the absence of laser and PC, the man decided to photograph his subjects from all possible angles, placing them on rotating platforms surrounded by 24 (very modern for the time) cameras. The images were then used to produce incredibly detailed sculptures.





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