As temporarily gratifying as Facebook-stalking, blog-hopping, and re-tweeting can be, in the long term, it’s bad for your health.
Mark Zuckerberg and other Internet media moguls will have to watch out for the lawsuits sure to spring up once the news gets out that too much time spent online leads to depression.
In a recent study (reported by Reuters) 1,041 internet-using Chinese teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 were examined over a nine-month period. All of them were assessed before the study, and all were deemed depression free. After the nine months, researcher Lawrence Lam of the School of Medicine at Notra Dame in Sydney found that the teenagers who used the internet more than five hours a day were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop depression.
What does this mean for those of us that have committed, long-term relationships with our laptops? First, we must determine if our adoration for the internet is actually an addiction.
How to know if you have an “addiction:”
- You suffer from Twitter-induced IVS (Irritable Vowel Syndrome where you are in a constant state of over-sharing irrelevant information — e.g. “Just took out the trash out. It was overflowing!”)
- You have withdrawal symptoms when you’re not online. (e.g. you can’t focus because you are too busy wondering who has updated his/her status, your fingers are typing but there is no keyboard around, you have seriously considered uprooting your family and friends and moving them to Montana so that you can play FarmVille in real life)
- You are more intimate with your computer than any human being. (e.g. you spend more time with your laptop than your love interest, your laptop goes to bed with you and routinely sees you in your pajamas)
What to do if you are suffering:
If you answered yes to one or more of the above, you are possibly in danger of being an “addict.” The short answer solution? At the risk of turning into the Zoloft bubble, quit gaming, get offline and go outside.