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Heavy Internet Use Linked To Depression 360

Posted by timothy
from the uses-mental-bandwidth dept.
An anonymous reader writes "People who spend a lot of time surfing the internet are more likely to show signs of depression, British scientists said on Wednesday. These 'internet addicts' spent proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities, Morrison said. They also had a higher incidence of moderate to severe depression than normal users."
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Heavy Internet Use Linked To Depression

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:41PM (#31011312) Homepage
    Sad, so sad.

    Oh, wait.
    • by Amphetam1ne (1042020) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:04PM (#31011704)

      Wait... how did we get on to Seasonal Affective Disorder?

    • Re:Such a sad story. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#31012258) Homepage

      And what's cause and what's effect?

      What if heavy internet usage is caused by being depressed rather than causing it?

      • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:52PM (#31012480)
        Judging from my own experiences as someone who has suffered from depression for roughly half of my life (and someone who has attempted to end it), I would have to say that depression is the cause, and heavy internet use is the symptom. It's an escape mechanism. Instead of constantly thinking of death, you can get on the Web and try to distract yourself.
        • Re:Such a sad story. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by derGoldstein (1494129) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:25PM (#31012888) Homepage
          In a way it may be equated to substance abuse. Technically, one could drown their self in books as a distraction -- the main differences being the amount of moderation, and the lack of the interactive element (though from what I understand from TFA, it's mainly consumption of content they're referring to). People used to place themselves in front of the TV for 8 hours a day, and that was also linked to depression, or at least social dysfunction.

          I think that most people who read Slashdot, and especially anyone who posts, spends a lot of time online, but that's just pointing to "a media" (or is it a "medium" in this context?). What a person does when they're online is far more relevant than just the fact that they're online.
          • Re:Such a sad story. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:56PM (#31013312)

            (though from what I understand from TFA, it's mainly consumption of content they're referring to).

            That is the exact reason that I use the Web so often: content of any kind. I read a lot of things, and follow a few topics just out of the need to not ruminate on things. Message boards, chatrooms, etc. all help me communicate at some level after a period of very intense depression (such as now, where I just had to drop a semester), where the anxiety is killer.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              I was like you long ago, but then I stopped giving a fuck about what others thought of me. Made life 100% better.

              After I fixed that problem, I turned to the internet again because of new problems - one of them is that all of my friends got married and had kids, or they work exhausting hours. Do I envy them? Hell no, because I can go pub-crawling or kayaking while they're stuck indoors wasting all of their money and hard work on nagging, domineering wives and screaming, crapping, defiant kids. When they d
              • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:31PM (#31015124) Homepage

                I was like you long ago, but then I stopped giving a fuck about what others thought of me. Made life 100% better.

                I mostly agree, with the exception of cases where you care about the person's opinion, and for the right reasons. I don't give a damn what my neighbor thinks because that's just geographical coincidence, but if I choose to become someone's friend, I would at least "give some damn", otherwise why do I choose to consider this person my friend? Family is more complicated, of course, and everyone has to make their own choices there. But apart from those cases, the only thing that should concern you is functionality: don't get on your boss' nerves because he'll fire you, and don't piss off a heavy-weight boxer that's standing right in front of you, because, well, darwinism.

                After I fixed that problem, I turned to the internet again because of new problems - one of them is that all of my friends got married and had kids, or they work exhausting hours. Do I envy them? Hell no, because I can go pub-crawling or kayaking while they're stuck indoors wasting all of their money and hard work on nagging, domineering wives and screaming, crapping, defiant kids. When they do have free time to visit we're always stuck at their house playing xBox with 5 year-olds or kicked out to the cold-ass garage before their wife makes me leave at 10pm on a Saturday. They're fucking miserable. Do not take your freedom for granted. Do not envy happy-looking couples, you don't see all of the fighting and control struggles behind the scenes.

                That's a matter of perspective and opinion. It's not really related to this topic. It's a valid opinion, in the sense that you're free to do with your life as you will, but I wouldn't say that it's the correct "advice" for everyone. I know several people who were just aimlessly wandering through life until they met the right person, not only to spend their life with, but also to motivate them. If that's not the case for you then that's fine, but I don't think that people keep getting married and having children just to keep the human species from extinction.

                The other problem is having non-nerd friends. Everybody I know in real life is not very articulate and conversation is about typical, non-controversial things. Time spent on each topic is kept to a minimum. Trying to start a deep conversation about politics or technology rights just causes them to scratch their heads and rub their eyes in irritation.

                You're the one who decides who you spend time with. You say that it's a "problem", but if it were really troubling you, then according to what you say in this post, you'd have no problem telling them flat out that they're boring you and you're not interested in seeing them again.

                But things are different on the internet. What's so cool about the internet? Not having to give a fuck about what people think! Nigger, for example. There will always be at least 1 niche that will welcome your weirdness with open arms so that you don't have to deal with all of those hypocrites, phonies, and rubes we encounter in real life. Create a strong persona on the internet and become that persona. Let its toughness change your behavior in real life. Then, when you no longer give a fuck about what others think, they'll try harder to get your attention and win your approval. Pussy will throw itself at you left and right.

                Yes and no. Your post is a very good example. By being so aggressive, some people will simply skip over what you've said and dismiss you as a "brute" or a troll, not even considering your argument. The ad-hominem effect kicks in (you'll be dismissed because of who you are, or how you behave, rather than what you say), and you've just lost a lot of people's attention, not all of whom you'd normally choose to filter out. If I know that I'm in an environment that doesn't mind cursing, then I'll cuss like a sailor, but I'd still respect someone

          • by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:01PM (#31014104)

            Thanks god books aren't injectable. I wouldn't have any usable veins left.

        • Re:Such a sad story. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dubbreak (623656) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:36PM (#31013020)
          I'd have to agree. I have experienced it and have family and friends as well. I sought distraction in other ways (speeding on motorcycles and drinking) and they were definitely not the cause. When you feel like shit you seek ways to make yourself feel anything else. Numb is a step up from depressed.

          I found anti-depressants (SSRIs, MAO inhibitors.. any kind I tried) numbing. Yes it made daily life more livable but I was stuck on 98%. I just wasn't quite there on the drugs. Life was better with drugs than without them at the time, but not quite as good as life prior w/o the drugs. Once I got off the anti-depressants I finally was able to have days where I felt 100%. I no longer feel slightly withdrawn from life (despite the fact I'm a software dev). Of course getting off antidepressants can be a bitch (withdrawal symptoms can be pretty bad).
        • Re:Such a sad story. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Myria (562655) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:53PM (#31013248)

          I have severe depression, and have suicidal thoughts pretty much every day. I use the Web and WoW to escape from my persistent gender dysphoria. In chat rooms and online games, I can be a girl, but not in real life.

          • Re:Such a sad story. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:50PM (#31014642)

            I have severe depression, and have suicidal thoughts pretty much every day. I use the Web and WoW to escape from my persistent gender dysphoria. In chat rooms and online games, I can be a girl, but not in real life.

            I've been in your exact same situation only a few months ago. As it happens going on estradiol and testosterone blockers have more or less pushed me from suicidal to feeling better than I even thought was humanly possible (was hard to predict in advance when you have little to compare with). Unfortunately not everybody has the same reaction, but if you're not already on them I can only recommend you give hormones a very serious thought. I know it can be hard to get them many places ( I was forced to self-medicate myself ) and that things are not that easy, but seeing your post more or less described my life 6 months ago I just wanted to let you know that things can get a heck of a lot better.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rolfwind (528248)

          Judging from my own experiences as someone who has suffered from depression for roughly half of my life (and someone who has attempted to end it), I would have to say that depression is the cause, and heavy internet use is the symptom. It's an escape mechanism. Instead of constantly thinking of death, you can get on the Web and try to distract yourself.

          Couldn't internet addiction, be part of a feedback cycle keeping you depressed? Less sun, less contact with people firsthand, less social life, and if it's

      • by digitalgiblet (530309) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:57PM (#31012556) Homepage Journal

        What if the internet is caused by depression?

      • by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:58PM (#31012568)

        A question asked in the RA. '"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?," Morrison said.'

        There's a third possibility which the article fails to consider: rather than one causing the other, perhaps both are caused by something else. For example, the person who has difficulty forming satisfying sexual relationships is perhaps likely to get depressed about that and to spend "proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites". The whole thing gets muddy, because that can then form a feedback loop.

        Obligatory link [xkcd.com].

        • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:33PM (#31012964) Homepage
          That question ("we don't know is which comes first -- are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?") can also be answered with: "both". The two are not mutually exclusive. It's a chicken and egg question, and in this case any of the two may be true in different scenarios. You're definitely right about the feedback loop -- it would be the same with alcohol or drugs in this sense (one could lead to the other, which would then lead to more of the first).
  • I'll say... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:41PM (#31011328)

    have you SEEN what's on there?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shikaku (1129753)

      Porn, untold amounts of porn, and untold amounts of geeks' fantasies never being fulfilled.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nathrael (1251426)
        And Rule 34 of Rosie O'Donnel.

        What has been seen cannot be unseen! YEARGH EYE CANCER!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by derGoldstein (1494129)
        What's more likely to get you depressed -- overexposure to porn, or overexposure to 4chan?
        Suppose you have a person who has very few social connections (just the ones they need to survive, like work relationships), and is also relatively isolated from their family (for whatever reason). Is it worse to saturate that person's mind with porn, or to dedicate a lot of time to, let's face it, some cruel, sadistic, and generally hateful communities that exist online?

        I'm definitely not trying to legitimize extre
        • Re:I'll say... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by xaxa (988988) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:09PM (#31014854)

          I actually just gave 4chan as an example to point out an overall direction -- there are far worse places, where hatred and malice are directed to whichever cause you can think up

          That's not unique to the Internet.

          One of my flatmates watches three British soaps: EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. I don't watch them myself, but sometimes I see what's happening if I'm cooking when she's home. Most of the time, it's people shouting at each other, arguing, cheating, backstabbing, and generally spreading hatred around them. It's awful.

  • by loftwyr (36717) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:42PM (#31011340)

    But it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it.

    So, what we have here is an article with no actual basis for conclusions. Nothing to see here, move along

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:43PM (#31011358) Journal

      All they are saying is that they noted Correlation, not implying causation.

    • by Taibhsear (1286214) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:45PM (#31011398)

      Seconded. Could it be that perhaps people are depressed by not getting the attention they desire and thus go to the internet for it? The study is a failure if it finds both ends of the argument plausible and no concrete evidence for either.

      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:19PM (#31011928) Homepage Journal

        The study is a failure if it finds both ends of the argument plausible and no concrete evidence for either.

        No, it is not a failure. It succeeds in saying, "we observed this phenomenon, it's significant, and it might be worth studying further." Science succeeds when it places observations before conclusions; it fails when it does the opposite, as people like you seem to want it to do. Establishing that something exists in the first place is the prerequisite for everything that follows.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        The study is a failure if it finds both ends of the argument plausible and no concrete evidence for either.

        Dude, did you even read TFA??? Take these three sentences ....

        People who spend a lot of time surfing the internet are more likely to show signs of depression, British scientists said on Wednesday.

        But it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it.

        "Excessive internet use is associated with depression, but what we don't know is which comes first -- are

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:51PM (#31011526) Homepage

      But it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it.

      Exactly. And an earlier study showed a correlation between television watching [suite101.com] and depression [naturalnews.com]. Worth repeating: correlation is not always causation.

      In this case, I could easily see the correlation as: depressed people are too depressed to do anything requiring activity, so they tend to sit around and watch television or surf the web.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:16PM (#31011890) Homepage

        And an earlier study showed a correlation between television watching [suite101.com] and depression [naturalnews.com]

        wait What?

        I watch Tv on the internet......

        I am so boned..... CRAP!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by dnahelicase (1594971)
        Is that better than being fat? I keep hearing that obesity is greater among people that spend an above average amount of time watching TV and surfing the web. I think they must have missed that link. Internets lead to obesity, obesity leads to poor self image, poor self image leads to depression, depression leads to loneliness, loneliness leads to porn! Hence the internets only lead to creating porn addicts and pirates. Which is why we need the FCC watching over the tubes...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Trahloc (842734)
          My poor self image in no way has anything to do with the internet. Need proof? I was fat before I ever heard of the internet! HAH! ... now I did troll libraries and read entire sections of it before I got my computer... So I guess libraries cause depression too!

          FFS, some people are just depressed with life, they seek entertainment to help distract them from their own state. Whatever distraction that form takes has nothing to do with the depression. I can think of several reasons why I gained weight
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bonniot (633930)

            A general dissatisfaction with life seems to be one of the hallmarks of humanity and that is a good thing. We wouldn't be where we are if we were all content just living off the land like the other animals.

            True, we would be ... all content! I'm so glad to be dissatisfied with life instead! ;)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:44PM (#31012374)

        Just to let you know, Natural News is one of those whacked out anti-science sites. You know, pro-homeopathy, pro-naturopathy, anti-vaccine, anti-evidence based medicine. The same people who thing correlation really does equal causation (for example, the guys who run that site claim vaccines cause autism). I mean, I'm sure it was just the first link that came up when you searched, but in the future you might want to go with the second link there, because that site is deep in the stupid.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Emb3rz (1210286)

      browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities

      All of which would likely increase activity of which neuro-transmitter? Did anyone say dopamine? And what else increases dopamine activity? More witches! Err, no. Certain classes of drugs, illicit or otherwise. And depression is provably related to imbalances in norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. I'd love to get a real biologist's take on this research.

    • by Mal-2 (675116)

      Duh. Depressed people generally want to avoid social interaction, or take it in short bursts at their own pace as it suits them. The Internet is perfect for this. The excessive time spent online is a symptom, not a cause.

      Mal-2

    • by dintlu (1171159)

      Unfortunately, that article is worthless and I don't know where I can find the actual paper.

      While the article describes 1.2% of Britons between 15 and 51 years of age as being "internet addicted, it does NOT tell us how much the likelihood of depression increases among those addicts when compared to non-addicts.

      I don't see a discussion of depression rates by age or other socioeconomic factors, either. People under the age of 30 are more likely to have been online their entire adult lives, people from wealt

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      Not having a PhD, no data, and not having RTFA, I'd guess that it's the second one.

      As someone who suffers from regular bouts of depression (as well as daily depression periods relating to certain bodily functions), I know from first-hand experience that the internet is a great distraction for depression. You momentarily forget your woes when you find a video of a kitten going 'NOM NOM NOM' or play some flash game (or go to sexually gratifying websites.) Online communities are great because they are mostly

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Having a PhD does not help. I went and asked the guy here with 2 of them. (ever seen real genius? remember laslo? we hired him. WE have a no smoking in the building, his office he chain smokes....) 1 in computer science and 1 in archeology.

        He had no clue either.

    • But it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it.

      So, what we have here is an article with no actual basis for conclusions. Nothing to see here, move along

      Of course, these are the fields of psychology and human behavior. Even the best work done by Pavlov or Skinner aren't 100% proven. They are, however, very interesting observations and empirical data that assist us in beginning to understand the human psyche. You're never going to have a completely proven conclusion from studies and surveys like this. And the people working within these fields are therefore subjected to the very opposite of what a mathematician or physicist would get if they made similar

    • by Inda (580031)
      I have truly suffered from clinical depression for over twenty years. I manage it well; no pills; very few people in the real world know. I had it before the internet, during and probably after.

      When I'm suffering, I don't get a lot of sleep, so I spend more time on the internet. It's as simple as that.

      And I didn't RTFA because the comments on Slashdot said not to bother. :-)
    • by hduff (570443)

      But it is not clear whether the Internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it.

      So, what we have here is an article with no actual basis for conclusions. Nothing to see here, move along

      On the contrary, it's a perfect article for the Slashdot crowd since it foments introspection and may provide personal insight.

      In other news, living in your parent's basement is linked to depression.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I've got a conclusion for you:

      People who are depressed spend more time on the Internet looking for a life.

      Back in the BBS days (and early Internet days) I would spend time in chat sessions and forums looking for parties, activities, new stuff to learn, of course - porn. I met some of my best friends in chat in the early 90's on the Revolution Calling and Anarchy X BBSs in San Diego. I don't remember being depressed at that time, but I was definitely looking for a life.

      Anyway, the Internet is probably good

  • Maybe they are confusing cause and effect, if you are depressed, feel lonely, unable to get out of the house. Surely you are more likely to spend your time doing such indoor activies.
  • Shocking news: depressed people try to escape from reality!

  • Comorbidity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ihatewinXP (638000) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:46PM (#31011422)

    In the long run this will also be likely linked to Aspergers Syndrome and other dissociative / personality disorders that we are diagnosing with much greater frequency today in that it reduces peoples interactions with actual human beings (at least vs our 'un-evolved' predecessors) to the point where children are not growing up with a firm grasp of social cues in relation to body language, tone of voice, etc....

    Thank Christ I was raised in a time before 4chan....

    • Everyone has a mental illness these days.

      • ...if you don't have some type of mental illness these days, something is seriously wrong with you. Says so, right on the TV ad!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by value_added (719364)

        Everyone has a mental illness these days.

        More accurately, there's a mental illness for everyone.

        Personally, I distrust the entire psychiatric profession, and lament that these "professionals" have taken on (usurped?) the traditional roles of grandparent, wise uncle, priest, friend, cool dude down the street who smokes too much pot, etc. Anyone know of any other job where you can ensure meaningful and continued employment by making shit up?

        No doubt there's an illness for people like me, too. Or would it be

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by myowntrueself (607117)

          No doubt there's an illness for people like me, too

          Yeah same here.

          I suffer from an illness that makes me want to tell people to take responsibility for themselves and their behavior and not blame it on some 'genetic' condition or whatever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597)

      In some cases it's not clear that "linked with personality disorders" actually adds any information, because many personality disorders have no etiology or known mechanism and are simply defined clinically as the presence of a certain set of symptoms. So saying that the symptoms are associated with the disorder doesn't tell you anything, because the disorder is defined as having those symptoms. It's like saying being morbidly overweight is linked with clinical obesity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)

      In the long run this will also be likely linked to Aspergers Syndrome and other dissociative / personality disorders that we are diagnosing with much greater frequency today in that it reduces peoples interactions with actual human beings (at least vs our 'un-evolved' predecessors) to the point where children are not growing up with a firm grasp of social cues in relation to body language, tone of voice, etc....

      What, so suddenly Asperger's isn't an autism spectrum disorder, ie one that's genetically determi

  • by karstdiver (541054) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:46PM (#31011428)
    Now I really feel depressed...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      *YOU* feel depressed??? I find CowboyNeal sexually gratifying, you insensitive clod!

    • by Nathrael (1251426)
      Slashdot 2.0 makes me feel depressed too.
  • Chickens lay eggs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:47PM (#31011434)

    It takes a chicken to lay a chicken egg.

    So if internet usage is indicative of depression, then it stands to reason that people who are prone to depression (social outcasts for one) would be inordinately engaged in that type of activity. The flow isn't internet leads to depression but rather that depression leads to internet.

    All stereotypes have some basis in reality, so if we consider a significant fraction of internet users to be fat, ugly, borderline autistic, Cheetos and Doritos crunching, Mountain Dew swilling, World of Warcraft playing dweebs who used to get beat up in high school [slashdot.org], then we can see how an activity that allows relative anonymity and essentially zero repercussions would attract this type of user. In turn, this type of user would tend towards clinical depression due to their social awkwardness and isolation.

    • Hey! I'm a fat, ugly, borderline autistic, Cheetos and Doritos crunching, Mountain Dew swilling dweeb who used to get beat up in high school, you insensitive clod! You crossed the line with World of Warcraft!

  • Since this study doesn't really show anything conclusive, but only a correlation, it's not really any big deal. On the other hand, there's a lot of information on the Internet, and a lot of it is pretty depressing.
  • by derek_m (125935) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:48PM (#31011470)

    Rather meaningless really. Of the 1319 responses to an online questionaire 1.2% (yes, thats a whole 16 people) were deemed to be "addicts". "Many" of those were deemed to be depressed. Whats that a whole 10 people?

    Noone ever answers these things less than 100% honestly, do they?

    Smells more like they asked their questions, stated the conclusions they were hoping to prove but failed utterly at having the data to back them up.

  • by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:51PM (#31011524)
    It will be interesting to see if the study examined sleep patterns of those who use the Internet to a far greater degree than others. Lack of sleep over an extended period of time has been linked to depression in many studies. Thus, the Internet surfing behaviors could be causing the subjects to get less sleep, thereby increasing the likelihood that they experience depression. The validity of the claim will come down to how well the study authors controlled for other variables, the overal validity of their methods, and whether or not other groups can replicate the results.
  • "'internet addicts' spent proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites"

    Think how depressed they would be if they went to websites that weren't "sexually gratifying"!

    • by BobMcD (601576)

      The issue is, those websites are not gratifying. If they were they would go out of business, but in reality business is booming. The benefit is fleeting at best, and porn use generally leads to more porn use. Which is, in and of itself, depressing.

  • Cause or effect? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by at_slashdot (674436) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:56PM (#31011588)

    Didn't RTFA but this is the quick question that comes to mind when I read about all those studies... Also, what happens if you stop depressed people from using the Internet, do they feel better, worse, or the same?

  • British science reporting is notoriously [158.130.17.5] bad [158.130.17.5], some would say, incredulously bad [upenn.edu].

    And from TFA:

    LONDON - People who spend a lot of time surfing the internet are more likely to show signs of depression, British scientists said on Wednesday.

    Reader be ware.

  • Someone that is depressed is more likely to stay home/in the office and surf the internet.

    People that are happy go out, see friends, and do things.

  • People unhappy with their relationship status surf for porn ...

  • by realsilly (186931) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:04PM (#31011716)

    I would have to ask, did the scientists test the subjects prior to this study to find out how many had symptoms of depression, or have people in their family that have symptoms of depression before they ever show strong internet activity?

    In our society, with all of the news that is about threats over our heads and the general push to become wealthy, many people are depressed, or show signs of depression. My suspicion is that heavy users of the internet find freedom and more happiness in their internet activity.

  • by ddrueding80 (1091191) * on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:04PM (#31011720)
    How about: Awareness of the world makes people more depressed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)

      That's a good one.
      Whenever I read the main news headline of the day, I feel like I'm being trolled.
      Then I go back for more then next day.

  • Content-free news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KnownIssues (1612961) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:06PM (#31011740)

    I'm missing the part where this study has produced anything of value.

    "What is clear is that for a small subset of people, excessive use of the internet could be a warning signal for depressive tendencies."

    You could just as easily say with just as much truth, "What is clear is that for a small subset of people, excessive *anything* could be a warning signal for depressive tendencies." But of course, that wouldn't produce anywhere near as much alarm and fear of the Internet.

    • by sohare (1032056)

      I'm missing the part where this study has produced anything of value.

      "What is clear is that for a small subset of people, excessive use of the internet could be a warning signal for depressive tendencies."

      You could just as easily say with just as much truth, "What is clear is that for a small subset of people, excessive *anything* could be a warning signal for depressive tendencies." But of course, that wouldn't produce anywhere near as much alarm and fear of the Internet.

      So in order to actually study some sort of phenomenon you need to first have reasonable evidence that said phenomenon really exists. That's what correlation studies sometimes try to address. For instance, in this case maybe the researchers have the hypothesis that the internet can contribute to depression. Certainly if there were not even a correlation between internet use and depression you would not suspect the internet had much if anything to do with depression. This is what separates science from ps

      • by KnownIssues (1612961) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:43PM (#31012352)

        For instance, in this case maybe the researchers have the hypothesis that the internet can contribute to depression.

        Agreed, but in order to test the hypothesis that the Internet can contribute to depression, you would need to compare these results to the percent of people with addiction as a whole and to percentage of generally addicted people who are depressed. I don't see any of that detail here. If I told you that 1.2% of people who used the Internet were convicted murderers, but failed to mention that 2% of the general population are convicted murderers, would I be right in claiming to have established a correlation between the Internet and murder? The study points out that 1.2% is greater than the .6% of gambling in the UK, but that's not a 1-to-1 comparision, since the study including porn, all forms of gaming, and chat.

        I haven't seen the actual study, so I should refrain from jumping to conlusions about the quality of the study. My issue is more with the way scientific studies are presented by the news and the way the media forces scientists to produce little sound-bite-nuggets to be taken out of context.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by StikyPad (445176)

          If I told you that 1.2% of people who used the Internet were convicted murderers, but failed to mention that 2% of the general population are convicted murderers, would I be right in claiming to have established a correlation between the Internet and murder?

          I can't answer that, but I can say that I'm now very scared by the idea that 1 in every 50 people I meet is a convicted murderer.

  • work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crsuperman34 (1599537)
    I'm a graphic designer, it is REQUIRED that I sit on the internet 8+ hours a day gathering pdf's, emails, stock photography, free vector files, keeping up with social trends, web design, email design and taking short breaks browsing to 'switch' my mind to the next job. When I get home--by habit gained at the workplace--I check the news... cnn.com, salon.com, washington post and also prone to check facebook. So it is my job requiring me to be online which will eventually make me depressed. Seems that could
  • Reminds me of an old "Life in Hell" where Binky [okcimg.com] has a choice between being Smart or Happy.
  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:14PM (#31011858) Homepage
    It's kinda hard not to be depressed . . . thank you, Internet.
  • Or some other ailment caused by not getting enough sunlight and fresh air.

    I doubt they are playing wow or surfing porn in a nice sun-lit park.

  • Have you seen what those idiots post on web communities? You'd be depressed about the state of humanity too.

    And no matter how much time I spend correcting these idiots, they keep posting more stupidity. As a result, **of course** I spend a lot of time online.

  • Obvious (Score:4, Funny)

    by Pictish Prince (988570) <wenzbauer@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:17PM (#31011900) Journal
    Better informed implies more depressed. End of story.
  • Proof (Score:5, Funny)

    by moteyalpha (1228680) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:18PM (#31011916) Homepage Journal
    <a href="Depression">Heavy Internet usage.</a>
  • Unavoidable (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:20PM (#31011940) Journal

    I've wasted my life.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:21PM (#31011976) Homepage Journal

    were they getting depressed because of surfing, or were they escaping to surfing because of depression.

    i, for one, know from myself that, at points in my life in which i was severely stressed, depressed or in a waiting period for some event (military service etc), was using computer games heavily as an escape and sedative. that way i was able to relieve some of the stress or depression i had. if you are busy with something, you dont get focused on your depression that much.

    i dont think surfing is much different. if those people werent doing that heavy internet usage, they would probably be starting using mild drugs. internet is much better.

  • how about: excessive engagement in high stimulating activities such as the Internet, TV and online videogames, that ultimately depletes neurochemicals and at the same time causes a depression when experiencing less stimulating/normal activities? sometimes there really is too much of a good thing.

  • by bledri (1283728) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:35PM (#31012232)
    Slashdot Affective Disorder

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