Warning, use of internet can be damaging to your mental health

In a survey of 2,293 seventh-grade students in Taiwan, 10.8% developed an internet addiction, determined as a high score on an internet addiction scale (sounds made up, I know).  Symptoms included spending large amounts of time on the internet, not being able to cutback and real symptoms of ahumadawithdrawal.

Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, says the findings were no surprise.

“The study’s indication that children who are hyperactive or diagnosed ADHD are finding an outlet on the Web makes such perfect sense,” he says, because those children crave the constant stimulation of fast-paced video games and interactive social networks.

Kids with depression, anger issues, or social problems also turn to the Internet as therapy, adds Gilbert, who was not involved in the study. “They can take on an avatar or a different identity, and can contact other kids with the same problems and social inadequacies; they don’t have to function in conventional social ways.”

It’s hardly surprising.  These days kids are being fed the internet like they would a warm bottle of milk.  I’d imagine a similar study of adults would reveal these symptoms as well, maybe not from lack of an outlet, but from the feeling of “missing out.”  This is just speculation based on myself, but I have to imagine if most people are without their smart phones, or internet for extended periods of time, they would feel some withdrawal–from the world–I know I do.  Every hour of the day provides so much news and information.  It’s not like the old days where news was once a day with the morning newspaper.  And now not only is there traditional news, there’s your friends news, or celebrity news, or any type of news you could ever want or follow.  If you miss a day, you actually will miss a great deal of news.

But all of this helps explain why social media has become so popular, people don’t just enjoy going to these sites, they actually need to go to these sites.  Perhaps in the future we will see warning signs on websites.  “Caution, extended use could cause anxiety or extreme emotional distress.”  Check back in 10 years and you may find I was right.

~ by danjsilver on October 5, 2009.

2 Responses to “Warning, use of internet can be damaging to your mental health”

  1. oh wow lol

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