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Is this forum bad for our health?

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
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Social networking sites could be harming people's health by reducing levels of face-to-face contact, an expert has claimed.

Sites such as Facebook set out to enrich social lives, but end up keeping people apart, according to Dr Aric Sigman.

Lack of "real" social networking, involving face-to-face interaction, may have wide-ranging biological effects, he argues.

Evidence suggests that it could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, and the function of arteries, and influence mental performance, says Dr Sigman.

This could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia.

Dr Sigman spells out his warning in the latest issue of Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology.

He maintains that social networking sites have played a significant role in people becoming more isolated.

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Aric Sigman is a purveyor of soft science such as:

"These are not wild suppositions: they are based on hard, clinical evidence that has lain buried in academic journals.

For example, scientists at the University of Washington studied 2,500 children and found a strong link between early television exposure and attention problems by age seven which was 'consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD'.

For every hour of television a child watches a day, they noted a nine per cent increase in attentional damage.

Equally shocking was the report in the medical journal Pediatrics which studied the metabolic rates of 31 children while undertaking a variety of activities and found that when they watched TV, the children burned the equivalent of 211 calories fewer per day than if they did absolutely nothing.

The authors concluded that 'television viewing has a fairly profound lowering effect of metabolic rate', with all of the health risks that entails.

More subtle, but no less pernicious, were the results I found when I travelled the world to research how remote cultures have been affected by the recent arrival of television. By studying these societies, I was, in effect, going back in time to see how our own society might have been shaped by television.

In Bhutan — the last country on earth to introduce TV — I was appalled to discover that since the arrival of 46 cable channels, the country was experiencing its first serious crime wave. Greed, avarice and selfishness had replaced traditional values of peace and respect."

There is no attempt in most of his science to discriminate between causation and correlation, junk science at its worst.


Active Member
This forum has been a wonderful way for people to connect who otherwise would never have. Not necessarily in person but in ways that have given them a sense of belonging to this Camino tribe.
I have had the chance to meet several members while on the Camino after meeting them here, and also have met another member while she was driving through Tallahassee. We now are friends.
I do not feel that it is bad for my health. No way.



Veteran Member
The Forum, as with many other forums, is where like minded folks can exchange information, examine experiences and possibly meet on the Camino, or another venue.

Now if you spent all, or most, of your time waiting for a response to your words of wit, or opinion pieces, then you might want to get out more.

Other than that...all things in moderation!

Buen dos cerveza grande...por favor Camino,

John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
These reports make generalisations and don't always take into account the personality of the child, his/her family situation and other influences.
My younger son has osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disorder) and endured over 120 fractures between 3 months and 15 years of age. (Not counting fingers, toes and small bones in hands or ribs).
One year he had over 13 fractures which meant almost a whole year off school - we home schooled him through many long periods at home.
He spent many, many, many hours in traction frames, spica casts or orthopedic beds in front of the television. Our VCR was our saving grace! He participated in sport for the disabled from about 10 years, was head boy of his school, was the South African Wheelchair table tennis champion, has competed in 4 Paralympics in swimming and table tennis and in 7 other countries, is a team leader in the software developing company he works for and is an all round, happy, well adjusted, sociable guy.
Perhaps 'chat rooms' are the refuge of lonely people but Forums like this one that concentrate on a specific subject can hardly be called harmful!


Veteran Member

Where have you been..I've been in Reb withdrawl for over 10 days!

Gosh, the Forum is having a dramatic impact on my mental health...drat! It must be true!

Buen Tres cerveza grande...por favor Camino,


Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I´ve been working on the beta-test for the new hospitalero program.
And I´ve been up in the Low Countries. If you were a blog reader you would not suffer these long droughts, you know! :roll:

See? Some of us still can switch off the computer for a few days... but only when there´s a Portuguese cooking, and the Dutch pilgrim bishop is pouring the wine!



Veteran Member

Now I'm up to speed having read your Blog. My daughter lives in Ghent (Norfolk) Virginia. It has canals and a lovely lifestyle to boot. But I'm still in withdraw.

Darn those weak, kneed peregrinos looking for a better place in the Sun.

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i think that the forum gives many people the incentive to actually venture out onto the Camino, so that makes this site contrary to the suggested findings??

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I think the initial question is symptomatic of a Western Society-wide fascination with things that "might be bad for us." A direct result of having so many things that are good for us. And the natural desire to live forever in perfect health, and ensure that everyone else does, too.



Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Well, I've been in Spain for 10 days and never touched a computer...and now I have 350 emails to look at (or delete!) and all these unread entries on the forum! However, I didn't miss not having a computer (at least briefly) and also feel that I have made many friends on the forum... so it is definitely NOT bad for my health.. except that while Im reading I might be out walking instead... oh well, nobody's perfect! :lol:
Happy to be back in touch,
Buen Camino,


Veteran Member
Think of the Forum as an integral part of your lifestyle. As long as we get up each day...check the Forum...make a comment or two...return later for a response or new will become a part of our daily routine.

And, as long as the routine continues...we, your friends...will know that you're well!

So keep the logins coming!

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