Thursday, July 19, 2012

Does the Internet Drive Disorders/Depression, or Vice Versa?

This is quite the article, titled "Is the Internet Making Us Crazy?"  Apparently, there are others as well--(I haven't read the one referenced here yet)

I agree with the studies citing that the internet totally feeds on our OCD and ADD tendencies, but do the OCD and ADD tendencies engender heavy internet usage?  Page 3 of this article talks about the possible "fix" that we get from checking email and social media.  It's like a drug or gambling addiction.  And it lowers our attention spans; we don't even fully read longer blog posts, articles, etc,  because we're already fishing for the next fix (I nearly didn't read the whole article when I saw how long it was). Yet we can't seem to stay away. Page 5 of this article calls this "FOMO," where we are "utterly unable to look away for Fear Of Missing Out."

And this just after I watched the following commercial the other day.

So funny!  But also very pointed that our social media frenzy (mine included!) isn't living.

("I read an article--well, I read the majority of an article online. . . this [facebook] is living...that is not a real puppy!  That is too small to be a real puppy. . . .")

I do love the connections with family all over, and people I know from all the places I've lived, and also about three friends I've never even met IRL (In Real Life).  Rob's got bunches and bunches of internet friends, and we've slowly met them IRL whenever we happen to travel close enough to any of them.  He's a hermit, but a very social hermit, haha.  He, and they, hide out online.  What an oxymoron.

It's interesting that page 4 says that even when they realize heavy internet usage can increase depression and loneliness, "they have repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to cut back. But if this is unhealthy, it’s clear many Americans don’t want to be well."  Um, yeah.  We like feeling connected.

I'm a little irritated with the studies that say that there is such a connection between heavy online use and mood disorders, depression, and even suicidal tendencies.  We had plenty of that before the internet.  And I was plenty OCD and ADD before the internet.  For instance, the following comic made me lol at myself years ago, possibly before the term "lol" existed:

Which one causes (or brings out) the other?  The internet, or the disorder? But I do agree that internet use often displaces sleep, exercise, and face-to-face time.  I agree that "Technology can make us forget important things we know about life." But, I also posit that technology can help remind us of important things, and keep us connected to loved ones far and near.  I love some of the inspirational phrases I read on fb and pinterest.  I love the connection to other people.  'Course, I was a people person looooooong before the internet existed to the public.

I do wish the end of the article had gone in more depth to how we are the shapers of our internet use, and how to keep our minds emotionally and socially healthy.  Or that it had at least linked to an article with suggestions on healthy internet use.  Since internet use is now like eating.  We can't not eat, even if we are addicted to foods that hurt our health.  Yet dieting is hard because we can't go without food completely, like an alcoholic who decides they simply can't have a single drop of their vice.  The internet is like food now; we can't imagine not internetting.  We communicate via email/fb for business, familial & friend connection and recreation.  I can't imagine going back to only snail mail.

Still, this opened my eyes that I should cut back and pay more attention to how I use the internet.  Ahem.  After I finish reading all your emails and blog and fb posts. . . .  And bury a few hats online and off.  ; )

(And for the fun of it, here's an article positing that the "making us crazy" trend stories are what are making us crazy.  Hehe.  Though it does point out that we are affected by our heavy internet use)

1 comment:

Kim Baccellia said...

I had to agree with the article somewhat in just watching Brandon with his on-line computer games. One such game, Roblox, caused him to get very angry to the point he broke one of our computers. What's interesting is in one of his social skills classes, other mothers shared their own concerns with this game too. One mother's son would get verbally abusive and threat them if he had to get off the computer.

I found if young children with ADHD or other sensory issues, such as Brandon and the other boys in his class, if they aren't monitored and are on the computer for long periods of time, it does affect them in negative ways. I know they'd done studies with watching TV too much and how that can make children passive. But computer overuse can cause very disruptive behavior. One neurologist told me that it can even rewire the brain.

The big key is monitoring and not letting your child use the computer all the time. I'm still have problems with this. Personally I don't care for the games but I'm a Twitter addict. I admit it!