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  1. Mary Nolan
    October 9, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    Hey Diana, I stumbled across your blog, and thought I’d add my two cents to this particular entry. I teach online for a state university, and have had several students with social anxiety disorders. It makes sense, given that online educational opportunities allow access to people who would not otherwise have it for a variety of health reasons.

    What I’ve found particularly interesting — and disturbing — is that the more time I spend online, myself, the harder it becomes to get out of the house at all. All of my teaching for the past year has been online, and by the end of fall term, I was starting to feel anxious about going out. By the middle of winter term, I was sending my husband shopping lists at his work so I could avoid even going to the grocery store. It took a three-week trip to Spain in the summer (during which I was still teaching online classes) to snap me out of it. Drastic measures, indeed.

    Not being one with a history of any particularly remarkable social anxiety, nor being otherwise isolated like you, this new development begged the question of how much contemporary manifestations of disorders like that are facilitated by virtual sociality, if not outright caused by them. Are people with a propensity toward social anxiety disorders helped or hindered by the virtual? Are we seeing a rise in social anxiety disorders commensurate with access to increasing avenues of online sociality?

    Enjoyed the post, liking the blog… Good luck with your doctoral work!

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