Internet access may improve mental health as much as a walk in the woods

Yeah, exactly. It’s fine to read this study as “people with access to the internet are going to be happier than people without access,” because “without access” is shorthand for a whole bunch of other stuff.

It’s not ok to read this study as “going on the internet makes you happier.” The study doesn’t say that.

That’s why I don’t like the framing as “as happy as a walk in the woods.” Walking in the woods is a specific behavioral choice you can make that affects happiness. “Access to the internet” is not a behavioral choice you can make.

What if I said “being born with access to clean water makes you even happier than a walk in the woods?” It’s a category error.


Few things raise the post-winter spirits like a carpet of bluebells. Hope the soundtrack was as it should be.

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