Study: Excessive internet usage linked to teen depression

According to a new study, teenagers who log at least five hours a day online are one-and-a-half times more likely to become depressed than those who use the web moderately, reports the New York Daily News. Young people who spend excessive amounts of time surfing the web grew agitated when not in front of the screen and had a decreased interest in social interaction, according to study co-author Lawrence Lam of the School of Medicine at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney. “Some [teens] spend more than 10 hours a day, they are really problematic users and they show signs and symptoms of addictive behavior … browsing the internet, playing games,” Lam told Reuters. “They can’t get their minds off the internet, they feel agitated if they don’t get back on after a short period of being away.” The study, which was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, looked at 1,041 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 in Guangzhou, China, who were not depressed at the start of the research. When they were assessed nine months later, 84 of the teens were suffering from depression. Those who used the internet to excess were most vulnerable to depression. Why would screen time cause sadness? It could result from a lack of shut-eye, Lam suggested. “People who spend so much time on the internet will lose sleep, and it is a very well-established fact that the less one sleeps, the higher the chances of depression,” he said…

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