New Research Casts Doubts on the Notion That Internet Usage Leads to Depression

he general perception surrounding the internet is that while it has certainly brought some improvements to the manner in which you have currently chosen to end up living your life, it is also a leading cause of depression. In spite of the fact that this is the case, a new study coming out of Clinical Psychological Science casts some doubts on this notion. It suggests that the internet way very well be a source of distraction, but that does not necessarily mean that it is causing depression.

According to the findings presented in this study, there has only been a minor shift in the trend of mental illness all around the world. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this refutes the idea that internet adoption leads to a proportional rise in negative mental health outcomes.

Matti Vuore and Andrew Przybylski, the two researches behind this study, compared internet adoption statistics with mental health statistics in order to paint a much more accurate picture of what is going on in the here and now. It turns out that 17% of the world’s population had internet access in 2005, and this has gone all the way up to 59% by 2020 with all things having been considered and taken into account.

If the increase in negative mental health outcomes were proportional, it would have caused a global mental health pandemic. However, the increase has been very small, although the report does indicate some correlation. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 have reported higher instances of self harm, but this does not automatically mean that it is the byproduct of the internet and nothing else whatsoever.

Many surveys that are ringing alarm bells are asking parents the questions rather than kids. When children themselves are asked about how the internet makes them feel, they often tend to assert that they feel rather content and that they aren’t experiencing any out of the ordinary feelings of depression or anxiety.

Indeed, there is a high level of likelihood that social media can actually present children with an opportunity to form strong community bonds with others. Also, the internet may have shed more light on issues that were already present which gives the appearance of exacerbating them.

Photo: DIW - AIgen

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