This article cited a number of studies that indicate there are numerous unhealthy side effects of spending too much time on the internet and playing video games. Anxiety, depression, OCD, and/or ADHD seemed to be prevalent in many of the people studied who spent a lot of hours engaged in these activities. Those findings didn’t surprise me, what did surprise me was the results of the study that found actual changes in the brain itself, just from moderate internet usage. In some cases, it seems unclear about cause and effect, for example, did the person spend more time on internet because they’re depressed or did they become depressed or more depressed due to their increased web or video game usage? Plus, there are so many other variables in life that could and most likely do play a part in a person’s anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. There are so many other variables in peoples’ lives to consider, how can researchers really be sure that the effects only come from peoples’ online usage?
I believe people can become addicted to just about anything, so I don’t discount the correlations found in the research, but I think there might be more to the stories than the research shows, like family history of mental illness or addiction, how a person was raised, etc.
For me personally, the internet is mostly a tool for me to use to get things done. I pay bills and bank online, communicate via e-mail and Facebook, and use it to look things up when needed. There are times, I have to admit, that I’ve wasted time on Facebook when I could have been doing something more productive, but I also love the fact that I’ve been able to reconnect with people that I probably never would have been able to otherwise.