Does The Internet Depress You?

Since you’re reading The Frisky right now, I hope that means you’re a fan of the site. But it may also mean you could be depressed. Researchers have discovered that the more time people spend on the internet, the more depressed they are. Yes, even if they happen to be spending their time on cool sites like this one. Researchers questioned 1,319 people, ages 16 to 51, and discovered a high correlation between amount of time spent online and depression. In fact, among what the researchers characterized as “internet addicts,” the “average depression score was more than five times higher than that of non-addicted users.” One explanation for this is that internet addicts may substitute time online for, you know, a social life. Another explanation could be that people who are depressed to begin with are drawn to the internet as an “escape.” As the lead researcher said: “Our research indicates that excessive internet use is associated with depression, but what we don’t know is which comes first—are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?”

What they don’t tell us, though, is what constitutes an “addict”? I’m pretty sure as someone who actually works online for a living, I probably spend more hours on the internet than the average user, but does that make me an addict? For what it’s worth, I did just delete my Twitter and Facebook accounts in an effort to cut back on my internet time when I’m not working, as well as to make myself less accessible to people who depress me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, would you qualify yourself as an internet addict? Would you agree that the internet can “expose a ‘dark side’ of the soul,” as the researchers claim? [via Daily Mail]