nternet "addicts" are more likely to be depressed than those who surf the Web a normal amount, according to a study by psychologists at Britain's University of Leeds. The researchers found that 1.4 percent of the 1,319 Britons surveyed were addicted to the Web, and that this group was more likely to be depressed — and spent more time on porn, gambling, and social networking sites. Is the Web bringing us down?
We need more research: The Leeds team can't say if the Internet gets us down, says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET News, or if depressed people surf more often. Or maybe it's a "very vicious cycle," in which sad people turn to the Web, read about "disasters, tragedies, and Amy Winehouse," and get more depressed. Let's temporarily shut down the Web and see if "people miraculously cheer up."
"Study: Time spent on Web linked to depression"
Addicts are more depressed? Duh: A better study would look at "which sites make you depressed the quickest," says John Crace in The Guardian. Maybe "10 minutes of Facebook or porn" makes you happy, but 11 minutes is too much. It seems obvious that any website will bring you down eventually if you're addicted, because anyone "addicted to anything is more likely to be depressed."
"A healthy addiction"
The study might have it backwards: Since 5 percent of the population is clinically depressed, and the study found that only 1.4 percent are Internet "addicts," says John M. Grohol in Psych Central, maybe the real story is that most depressed people are not "over-using the Internet." It's "just as valid" to conclude that "the Internet has an empowering side" that lets depressed people "reach out and find human social contact."
"Internet addiction and depression"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women
Subscribe to the Week