A 'dark side' to the internet suggests a strong link between time spent surfing the web and depression, say psychologists...
An addiction to using the internet has been linked to depression by British scientists who found that the longer people spent online, the less likely they were to be happy.
But it was not clear whether using the internet causes mental health problems, or whether people with mental health problems are drawn to the internet. More work is needed to answer this ‘chicken and egg’ question, say the researchers.
Study leader Dr Catriona Morrison, from the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds, said: ‘The internet now plays a huge part in modern life, but its benefits are accompanied by a darker side.’
However, Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, pointed out that, in some ways, the internet can be helpful. He said: ‘To the extent that the internet encourages meaningful friendships and social connections it can be a very good influence on people’s lives.’
In similar news, Capio Nightingale Hospital, Central London’s only independent mental health hospital, has identified an increase in social media and technology addictions and disorders.
This disorder, which is being termed ‘E-ddiction‘ by the hospital, is leading to a ‘tired and wired‘ society unable to relax or unwind. The hospital has noticed a rise in the use of technology devices such as BlackBerrys, mobile phones and in particular the iPhone for work and entertainment among clients suffering from mental health disorders and burnout.
This is further compounded by the fact that people are also spending increased time on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And the phenomenon doesn’t look set to go anywhere with Twitter announcing that on 12th January 2010 that it celebrated its highest usage day ever.
Could you live without your Blackberry or perhaps you feel compelled to check your emails even in bed? Let us know about your relationship with technology in the comment box below…