Researchers are saying that the longer people spend online, the less likely they are to be happy.
The survey – carried out by the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds said that some of those spending the longest online were found to be not just depressed but addicted too.
What is not clear however is whether spending a lot of time online leads to mental health issues, or whether it is symptomatic of those who already have some kind of problem.
Study leader Catriona Morrison said: “If you look at how dependent people feel they are on the internet that is likely to correspond with how happy or sad they feel.”
Those her team found to be seriously ‘Internet addicted’ spent more time browsing porn, gaming and online community sites. They were young too, with an average age of just 21.
Dr Morrison said that for the users the Internet was interfering “with their daily activities”.
“This study reinforces the public speculation that over-engaging in websites that serve to replace normal social function might be linked to psychological disorders like depression and addiction.
“We now need to consider the wider societal implications of this relationship and establish clearly the effects of excessive internet use on mental health,” she added
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