Internet Addiction Triggers Mental Health Issues, Study Says

By Seth Ferranti 09/22/16

Researchers gave participants questionnaires on Internet usage and symptoms of mental illness to investigate problematic Internet use.

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Internet Addiction Triggers Mental Health Issues, Study Says

In our ever-expanding digital and Matrix-like world, Internet addiction is becoming a new frontier in the recovery world. The perils of screen addiction among youngsters has been well documented, but now a new report says that college students who spend excessive time on the Internet are more prone to developing mental health problems such as ADHD, anxiety, inattention, depression, executive functioning issues, and impulsiveness.

The research team sought to examine the impact of people spending more time online than at any point in history, especially on young people who grew up with tablets and smartphones and couldn’t imagine a world without them. 

Over 254 students' Internet habits were examined during the study at McMaster University in Canada to determine what problems social media, surfing the web and keeping your eyes glued to the screen are causing in university-age students.  

Researchers used the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), a tool that’s been around since 1998, to measure students' usage and evaluated those results with their own, newer screening tool.

They found that 107 students tested for problematic Internet usage and 33 of the students met the criteria for Internet addiction—an extremely high number given the total amount of participants in the study.

The research team found that those who spent excessive time on the Internet exhibited higher rates of depression, anxiety, inattentiveness, and impulsiveness. According to HealthDay, the researchers also observed more difficulties with handling time management and planning daily routines.

"We found that those screening positive on the IAT as well as on our scale, had significantly more trouble dealing with their day to day activities, including life at home, at work, school and in social settings," said Van Ameringen.

With the recent findings and overall concern on how screen usage is affecting kids' brains, more studies are necessary to determine the true extent of this modern tech usage problem.

“This may have practical medical implications," said Van Ameringen in a press release. "If you are trying to treat someone for an addiction when in fact they are anxious or depressed, then you may be going down the wrong route. We need to understand this more, so we need a bigger sample, drawn from a wider, more varied population.” Only more testing will give concrete results from which data can be pulled and curated. 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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