Web of woe

22 May 2012

Missouri University of Science and Technology has depressed students. However, Dr Sriram Chellappan, a professor of computer science at Missouri S&T, thinks he can spot the symptoms from their internet use patterns.

Research shows him that students who show signs of depression, for example, use file-sharing services more often than others, and tend to switch between applications more often too. He’s looking to build systems to warn colleges when their students are miserable.

We can’t rule out reverse causation here: if Dr Sriram had ever spent frustrating hours trying to get a decent copy of series four of Dexter from file sharing services, he’d be pretty unhappy too. And maybe the internet is making them depressed, because most of it is rubbish. In this case, switching apps is making their life better. Not much, mind: they’re still in Missouri.

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