...if you believe the Daily Mail.
According to this pile of cack in today's 'health' section (or, as I like to refer to it, the 'load of old cobbled-together wank to make you shit yourself about cancer because of what some nutjob has said somewhere')...
Social networking sites such as Facebook could raise your risk of serious health problems by reducing levels of face-to-face contact, a doctor claims.
Emailing people rather than meeting up with them may have wide-ranging biological effects, said psychologist Dr Aric Sigman.
Increased isolation could alter the way genes work and upset immune responses, hormone levels and the function of arteries. It could also impair mental performance.
Hang on, though. If you believe that - and why the fuck would you, given that it's bound to be a load of cod science with little or no real evidence to back it up, but bear with me - then you have to conclude that all forms of interaction over the internet as opposed to face-to-face communication pose the same risk. In other words, reading the Daily Mail, either in electronic form or in paper form, could increase your risk of of cancer, according to the Daily Mail itself.
Since when did the Mail turn into Why Don't You?* I mean, honestly. What a crock. Read this shit:
Interacting 'in person' had effects on the body not seen when writing emails, Dr Sigman claimed. Levels of hormones such as the 'cuddle chemical' oxytocin, which promotes bonding, altered according to whether people were in close contact or not.
Well yes, I imagine if you locked yourself in a room with a computer and never saw the outside world, you wouldn't be as happy. I doubt it has a great deal to do with 'cuddle chemicals' though. And I imagine the 'increased risk of cancer' comes from the lifestyle associated with being more sedentary, lack of exercise, different diet etc, rather than teh internetz themselves. Not that the Mail will let that spoil a great scare-em-shitless bollocks science story.
To be fair to Mail readers, most of the commenters rubbish the story with a rather wearily dismissive air, as if they've heard this shite so many times before, but full marks must go to this contributor for shoehorning in the Government to something entirely unconnected and blaming NuLab for everything bad ever:
This is what happens when our so-called government decide to give every kid a computer - the kids learn violence from the terrible computer games and when they do eventually go out, they enact what they've seen on screen.
What's wrong with promoting sports and playing outside? Oh... I know... its because the computer companies give Mr. Darling loads of money to make sure we keep promoting them!
- Matt, London, UK, 19/2/2009 4:39
I mean, that takes skill. But Matt, you're sitting at a computer, aren't you...? Aren't you worried?
* For those of you who don't remember the dark days of 1980s summers, which stretched out into six weeks of funless oblivion thanks to the TV awfulness of Why Don't You?, this was a TV show that told you not to watch TV and instead "Go out and do something less boring instead". Thereby defeating the point of itself. And yet while it was presented by bowlcut preteens in bright yellow t-shirts, it still had higher journalistic standards than today's Mail.