Monitoring Student Internet Patterns: Big Brother or Promoting Mental Health?


A study showing that student internet behavior differed significantly for students with high scores on a test of depression is thought to be the first to consider the relationship between internet use and depression that focuses on patterns of online behavior rather than content. Study findings have the potential for use in the human services as a way to assess and/or promote mental health. Although the data were collected anonymously with Institutional Review Board approval and participants' informed consent, objections have been raised suggesting this type of data collection represents "Big Brother" or the monitoring of individuals' behavior without their awareness as portrayed in George Orwell's famous novel, 1984. the importance of this type of research in furthering our understanding of the impact of Internet use on human behavior is emphasized. Additionally, the role of the university is stressed as a location for conducting ethical research which disseminates findings via publication to inform and spur policymakers to develop appropriate guidelines to prevent misuse of new knowledge and technology.


Psychological Science

Second Department

Computer Science

Third Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Article - Journal

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© 2013 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2013