Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Heavy Internet Use Linked To Depression

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the uses-mental-bandwidth dept.

Medicine 360

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."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Such a sad story. (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011312)

Sad, so sad.

Oh, wait.

Re:Such a sad story. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011686)

Nooooo! So funny! Hahahahaha!

Re:Such a sad story. (3, Funny)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011704)

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

I'll say... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011328)

have you SEEN what's on there?

Re:I'll say... (2, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011646)

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

Re:I'll say... (2, Informative)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011902)

And Rule 34 of Rosie O'Donnel.

What has been seen cannot be unseen! YEARGH EYE CANCER!

The next line states... (5, Insightful)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Re:The next line states... (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011358)

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

Re:The next line states... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011432)

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

Yet the summary is written as such. Such a shock for a /. editor not to read something before it's put on the front page.

Re:The next line states... (3, Informative)

RJHelms (1554807) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011756)

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

Yet the summary is written as such. Such a shock for a /. editor not to read something before it's put on the front page.

No, it doesn't. The summary says "more likely"; that is, as internet use increases, the probability of depression increases. That is the definition of correlation. Implying causation would be using a word like "cause". (I know, tricky concept) Which the summary doesn't.

Re:The next line states... (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011394)

Welcome to modern journalism.

OMG HEADLINE!

Titillating content.

One line note explaining how everything you read was pure speculation on the part of the writer, and that there are no real conclusions to be drawn from the study/events/whatever that the writer tricked you into thinking the article was about.

Re:The next line states... (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012018)

Welcome to modern journalism.

OMG HEADLINE!

Titillating content.

One line note explaining how everything you read was pure speculation on the part of the writer, and that there are no real conclusions to be drawn from the study/events/whatever that the writer tricked you into thinking the article was about.

By modern, you mean the last 100+ years [wikipedia.org] , right?

Re:The next line states... (3, Informative)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:The next line states... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011928)

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.

Re:The next line states... (1)

iyntsiannaistnyi (300753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011938)

It's probably obvious, but I did want to point out that depression is very different from "not getting the attention they desire".

Re:The next line states... (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012002)

Yeah, that was in reference to the "sexually gratifying websites" in the article. Depression is obviously more serious than that.

Re:The next line states... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012012)

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 depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?"

All they have said is that people who spend a large amount of time on the internet might also correlate with depressed people, and that people should look out for it.

They absolutely find both ends of the argument plausible, and explicitly said so.

Re:The next line states... (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011526)

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.

Re:The next line states... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011802)

"Worth repeating: correlation is not always causation."

What also bears repeating is one thing leads to another, my mother didn't think she would get addicted to cigarettes 30 years ago, she's almost 60 and still smokes. The truth about the matter is one thing can lead to another, spending a disproportionate amount of time in any activity will mean you will be weaker in other area's of your life. It's a vicious cycle that has to be broken.

Re:The next line states... (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011846)

Do what they say, say what they mean
One thing leads to another
You told me something wrong, I know I listened too long
But then one thing leads to another
One thing leads to another

Re:The next line states... (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011890)

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:The next line states... (2, Funny)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012056)

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:The next line states... (2, Informative)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011538)

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.

Re:The next line states... (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011572)

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

Re:The next line states... (1)

Hellpop (451893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011600)

Maybe Causation causes Correlation now?

I would put money on it being the other way around.

Depression has been around much longer than teh intarnets.

Re:The next line states... (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011932)

Who cares which way it works if you want to identify depressed individuals then correlation alone is useful. You know the population of heavy internet and tv users will be a good place to search out depressed individuals. These are characteristics easy to spot and easy to survey. You then spend your time doing more analysis on the people in the group to find the specific target. It is going to be alot more efficient than searching the general population.

Re:The next line states... (1)

dintlu (1171159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011606)

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 wealthy families are likely to have been online sooner in life. People over 40 have divided experience- life before the internet, and life after - examining the mental health history of this particular subset of study participants would be very illuminating. I honestly would not be surprised if the study discusses all these factors and more.

This moment in history is the ONLY time we will have the opportunity to study differences between people who experienced life without the internet and people who have had access their entire lives, and it's a damned shame that these lousy newspapers distill such interesting science down to water cooler conversation points.

Re:The next line states... (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011660)

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 homogeneous (sites like /. being an obvious exception; there's some homogeneity, but it's not all-encompassing like most communities), so you get communities for the few things you actually have interest in, or that share your general outlook on the world and so are great for complaining to or discussing with.

The internet allows you to lose some of yourself for a short while, and in a state of depression that's often something you want to do. It also keeps you away from real physical contact (at least for myself, in a depressed state I don't want to be around anyone) while being more active than just watching TV.

Re:The next line states... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011950)

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.

Re:The next line states... (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011842)

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 similarly sized discoveries in their field.

The free variables are endless since humans can produce some of the most random and erratic behavior out there. And you'll never isolate and control all of these variables in your experiments and surveys. You can certainly hit the most obvious ones but humans are an odd lot. The hope is that a large enough sample size yields empirical data to make it 'good enough.' But everyone in the sample was British. Is there something about that culture or the internet service in that country that adds to depression? Are internet addicts more depressed in Iran and China because of the censorship? Less depressed in Scandinavian countries because the internet is cheaper and their culture embraces it? Who knows?

The really inconvenient thing these researchers have working against them is that their subjects are humans. We're not dealing with a poisonous snake that rarely bites but sporadically lashes out 1.2% of the time so they should always be handled with all sorts of protection ... no, we're dealing with children and adults, real people. Similar to early twenties Arabs being constantly hassled at airports, British children might face their mum doling out a hundred quid a week to some shrink who convinced them that he plays video games and surfs online he's more likely to be depressed. Never mind that the money might have been better spent on food and clothing or even entertainment to fight the alleged depression. The other problem is that news of this report gives heavy internet usage a bad wrap and it comes to be seen as impurity or a liability or even a counterculture (this might already be happening in some countries).

I'm not a psychologist, I've read some books but never studied the field. My direction of thinking would be to have a follow on study where heavy internet users who were also depressed were given surveys before and after completing many hours of internet usage in which they rate their overall mood versus non-internet activities where the same survey is completed. I think you'll find that depressed people are drawn to it for various reasons and your results would generate random noise and not a trend for mood to drop while using the internet or gaming. Maybe they feel insecure of their looks or stature in real life and online they're eldavojohn and not the fat kid that gets picked on and beat up at school? Maybe it's just another escape like Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels were for me as a kid? Maybe home is a very painful place with separated parents or not enough money or not enough material things so they escape online where everything is virtual? The possibilities are endless and I hope the public and psychology as a whole learn to look for the root of the problem and not use heavy internet usage as a symptom of a disease.

Re:The next line states... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012040)

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. :-)

Re:The next line states... (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012102)

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.

Maybe confusing cause and effect (2, Insightful)

mayhem79 (891695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011354)

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.

Re:Maybe confusing cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011386)

And if that is the case, then it's better to go on the internet, than sit in a chair with a shotgun in your mouth.

Re:Maybe confusing cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011408)

If you even bothered to read the first two sentences of TFA, you wouldn't have had to make this asinine comment. Thanks for the insight.

Re:Maybe confusing cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011678)

You make should be the doctor, you get it, the quak doesn't. This isn't even new and has been known for some time now.

Well... duh? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011366)

Shocking news: depressed people try to escape from reality!

Re:Well... duh? (1)

TomXP411 (860000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011674)

Heh. That's exactly what I was thinking. "News Flash: Depressed people try to make themselves feel better by - gasp - talking to other people!" Next they'll tell us that the leading cause of death is drinking water. "Everyone I know who's died drinks water or something that has water in it!" someone will say.

Re:Well... duh? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012058)

"Everyone I know who's died drinks water or something that has water in it!" someone will say.

Everyone you know who's still alive drinks water or something that has water in it, too. What this study found is nothing like that.

so.. (-1, Redundant)

ReverendDG (1627147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011372)

correlation is not causation? who would have thunk it.

Re:so.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011854)

The Romans, at least: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Re:so.. (1)

nick357 (108909) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012008)

Its my theory that thinking "correlation is not causation" causes a person to study statistics.

Cause or effect? (0, Redundant)

Sefert (723060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011384)

Or depressed people spend more time on the internet. I hate it when they show an effect that could very well be the cause instead. Damn poor study, if you ask me.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

Sefert (723060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011442)

Just cause I was unclear, they said in the article "But it is not clear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to it". In other words they learned nothing from the study, except that depressed people do stuff, including surf the internet.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011444)

Determining the validity of the correllation depends on how well they controlled for other variables. I've not seen the actual study, so I don't know how they determined the direction of correllation.

Re:Cause or effect? (1)

Sefert (723060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011604)

What bugs me is that they seem to be trying to imply causation. If the depression rates are as high as they say they are (8%, as of a 2004 study), they can find a correlation between depression and virtually any activity involving enough people. Which makes any study that fails to prove causation pretty pointless, I suspect. Except maybe cheer-leading.

Re:Cause or effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011484)

Or depressed people spend more time on the internet. I hate it when they show an effect that could very well be the cause instead. Damn poor study, if you ask me.

I haven't read the original paper, have you?

Thats what the internet is for, no? (1)

[000000] (130723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011390)

more time browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities. What else is on the internet apart from Slashdot?

Other things to think about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011412)

I hear that intelligence is also correlated to depression. In this case, is intelligence correlated to internet addicts? If so, it is quite contrary to our expectations.

Comorbidity (3, Insightful)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 4 years ago | (#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....

Re:Comorbidity (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011504)

Everyone has a mental illness these days.

Re:Comorbidity (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011800)

...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:Comorbidity (2, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012032)

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 a disease? What the hell. Disorder, malady, sickness, syndrome ... no wonder everyone's so screwed up. Guess I'll have to start watching those TV commercials more carefully so I know what to ask my doctor to prescribe.

Sigh. I need to go browse some sexually gratifying websites. Anyone have a link?

Re:Comorbidity (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011880)

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:Comorbidity (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011956)

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 determined? It's all just social conditioning? Which just need to make sure these children "[grow] up with a firm grasp of social cues"?

Well that's great news! You should publish a paper!

Is this an on-line community? (4, Funny)

karstdiver (541054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011428)

Now I really feel depressed...

Re:Is this an on-line community? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011776)

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

Re:Is this an on-line community? (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011942)

Slashdot 2.0 makes me feel depressed too.

Chickens lay eggs (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Chickens lay eggs (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011514)

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!

Re:Chickens lay eggs (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011532)

Yeah, I wasn't talking about uh you..

Browsing habits (1)

malignant_minded (884324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011436)

These 'internet addicts' spent proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities

I thought thats all the internet is

I don't know... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011446)

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.

Anti social (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011448)

I find my internet use helps keep me from having to interact with people face to face or on the phone. I'm all for it!

Another meaningless survey (3, Informative)

derek_m (125935) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

The internet is depressing? (1)

aldld (1663705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011518)

How can the internet be depressing? There's pictures of people's cats, Slashdot, and porn. Is there anything else that I don't know about?

Re:The internet is depressing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011662)

There's also pictures of goatse.cx and tubgirl... now THAT'S depressing!

Re:The internet is depressing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011978)

things like AVGN/TGWTG and all the free tv helps too

There could be a link to sleep patterns (4, Interesting)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Probably the other way round... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011528)

It looks like depressed people are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

it could be worse (1)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011534)

"'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"!

Re:it could be worse (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011988)

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? (3, Interesting)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Internet Addiction or just enjoy the Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011620)

I read the article, so already that disqualifies me to make a comment, but I will anyway.

In reading the article, I started thinking maybe I was depressed because I frequent those same types of sites listed in the article, with the exception of the sexual ones (as far as you know). I went to webmd and looked up the symptoms of depression. Luckily, I have none of the symptoms of depression and in many ways am just the opposite of those listed.

However, I spend an awful lot of time on the Internet and, frankly, just enjoy the Internet more than I do interaction with people. Sure, I can go to the pub and throw back a pint or two and that's fun sometimes but I'd almost certainly rather spend that same time hacking away on something on the computer or just browsing for fun.

So does that make me an Internet addict or does that make everyone else who enjoys personal/social interaction an attention whore?

WARNING: This is British sciene reporting (1)

crazybilly (947714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011632)

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.

Obligatory (1)

Pikkebaas (1665451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011636)

Correlation, causation, etc. Oh wait, it's even in TFA.

This Just In: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011652)

Some people go to bars and get drunk in order not to face reality
others use the interweb

more at 11

Effect not Cause (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011676)

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.

Hypothesis to investigate ... (1)

Spectre (1685) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011692)

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

Zetsubo-shita! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011702)

I'm in despair! The internet has left me in despair!

Depression leads to Strong Internet activity? (3, Insightful)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Awareness of the world (4, Insightful)

ddrueding80 (1091191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011720)

How about: Awareness of the world makes people more depressed.

Re:Awareness of the world (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011766)

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 (4, Insightful)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Content-free news (1)

sohare (1032056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011910)

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 pseudoscience (such as most alternative medicine and things like parapsychology). Pseudoscience almost without fail (a) rarely demonstrates existence and (b) assumes correlation implies causation. Look at something like homeopathy. The general trend in the research is that homeopathic remedies behave exactly like water, yet homeopaths have constructed elaborate and highly implausible mechanisms for how homeopathy might work.

Alternate theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011760)

No, I think the reason I, personally, am depressed is because I'm a heavy internet user and I'm stuck living in FUCKING CENTRAL KENTUCKY.

I'll grant this isn't a diagnosis applicable to everybody, but it's still worth looking in to.

work (2, Interesting)

crsuperman34 (1599537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011772)

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 be a legit argument against your workplace insurance in covering medical bills and could have even further repercussion?

Binky (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011844)

Reminds me of an old "Life in Hell" where Binky [okcimg.com] has a choice between being Smart or Happy.

Once you've seen a guy fucked to death by a horse (4, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011858)

It's kinda hard not to be depressed . . . thank you, Internet.

other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011868)

Could it be the other way around? Depressed people are more likely to turn to the internet for solace and understanding, or a meaning in their lives?

Maybe they have vitamin D deficiency (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011882)

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.

No kidding. (1)

foo fighter (151863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011892)

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 (4, Funny)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011900)

Better informed implies more depressed. End of story.

Proof (5, Funny)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011916)

<a href="Depression">Heavy Internet usage.</a>

Check some facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011922)

Check some facts....

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2010/02/the_internet_depres.html

Unavoidable (2, Funny)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011940)

I've wasted my life.

Actual paper is behind paywall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31011948)

But you can read the abstract [karger.com] for free.

Correlation is not causation (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31011976)

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.

heavy = weight ? (0)

noddyxoi (1001532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012078)

In the title your use the word heavy, it could be a freudian slip that already provides the answer, has heavy means overweighted, think cartman from southpark playing wow, then correlation does not imply causation and therefore people could be getting depressed of their asses being nailed to a chair.

Internet = high stimulation (2, Interesting)

strstr (539330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31012084)

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.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?