The internet has undoubtedly changed the world we live in today. The way we work and even the way we socialise is totally different to how it was a decade ago. We are constantly being made aware of the potential effects the online world can have on us, especially for the younger and more easily influenced of us but sadly there is little research to support these scares.
However, there is a recent study which was conducted by those at The University Of Leeds. It is based on the answers of 1,319 people who took part in an online questionnaire. Based on the responses, the researchers classified 18 people (1.3 percent) as ‘addicted’ to using the internet.
Later these 18 ‘addicted’ people were then compared with 18 non addicted people of the same age and sex. After both groups took part in questionnaires to diagnose depression, it was found that those who were ‘addicted’ scored more highly and were also more prone to spending time on internet gaming sites, community chat websites or on pornography websites and were also more likely to be young males.
It is important to note that there are many issues with this study the first being the small amount (1,319) of people who took part in comparison with the millions of us who use the internet on a frequent basis.
Another issue is that the study didn’t select a wide representative of people. Researchers posted the questionnaire on UK based social networking sites therefor giving them quite a limited range of responses. Those likely to use these kinds of sites and who choose to take part in this type of survey are also those who are the heaviest internet users. Perhaps on par to handing out a beer drinking questionnaire at a pub, it is going to get you a very one sided set of results.
A study like this makes it difficult to draw conclusions. As interesting as it is, it is not representative of the UK population as a whole and far more research is needed before we can directly link the internet with depression.
The best thing that you can do regardless of how often you use the internet is to look for warning signs and symptoms that could spell depression. Just a few examples could be feeling sad or low almost all of the time, losing interest in things you used to love and enjoy and also if you notice a decrease in energy and you often feel tired.
If you are experiencing these kinds of symptoms and you have been most days, most of the time for two weeks then you should make an appointment with your GP who will be able to ask questions in order to assess your depression.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression please refer to our directory where you will be able to find and contact a qualified professional in a convenient area for you.