Boffins have discovered that heavy internet users tend to be depressed, go figure.
British scientists from Leeds University recently completed a study that indicated there is a link between excessive internet use and depression. They found “striking” evidence that people using a crapload of the internet often “replace real-life social interaction with online chat rooms and social networking sites.”
Online chat rooms? Do people still use those? Anyway, back on topic, the boffins’ study was supposedly the first on such a large scale, analyzing over 1,300 Britons from ages 16 to 51 to see how down in the dumps they were compared to their use of the intarwebs. 1.2 percent were deemed “internet addicted,” (twice the rate of gambling addiction in the UK) and spent way more time looking at porn, playing videogames online, and visiting online communities than the rest. They also had a “higher incidence of moderate to severe depression than normal users.”
Head boffin Catriona Morrison says: “This study reinforces the public speculation that over-engaging in websites that serve to replace normal social function might be linked to psychological disorders like depression and addiction. This type of addictive surfing can have a serious impact on mental health.” I could have told her that the first time I heard of the “poopsock.”
The question is: Which comes first, depression or the internet? The boffins don’t know, only that there is a link according to their study. If anything, the internet could actually relieve depression in some cases, as it allows isolated people to socialize, and bored people to not be so bored. At the same time, the internet can be a refuge for the depressed, with an infinite amount of information to distract from one’s troubles. I know sitting in front of a computer all day can make me feel awful, but watching awesome videos is a great pick-me-up when I’m a little blue.