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Using the Web in daily life can easily turn into Internet addiction for people who abuse this vital technology. While many people use the Internet for online classes or to pay bills, a high percetage of the population use it as an escape from the real world. According to the first extensive study of its type by psychologists of the University of Leeds, computer users who spend numerous hours surfing the Internet are more likely to show symptoms of depression. Researchers have found many evidence that some computer users have formed an obsessive internet habit, where they are replacing real-life interactions with chat rooms and social media sites. Results are suggesting that this particular type of unhealthy Internet use can have a substantial impact on a person’s mental health. Dr. Catriona Morrison, the lead writer from the University of Leeds, states that the Internet is now a large part of the modern world, and that even though its use has a lot of benefits, it does coexist with a darker side. Many people today use the Internet for everyday use; to simply work ffrom home, send emails and shop. But some computer users find it very difficult to control the amount of time they are spending online, and oftentimes their overuse starts to interfere with their daily lives.People who are considered Internet addicts are known to spend more time looking at adult sites, game sites as well as online communities. This type of internet use also has a higher occurrence of moderate to severe depression than an Internet user who is not addicted to the Web. It is not known which disorder forms first; if the Internet causes depression or people who are depressed are more drawn to the Internet.
The Leeds study was the first large-scale analysis of young people and the association between depression and Internet addiction. Results showed that of 1,319 people between the ages of 16 and 51, 1.2% were suffering from Internet addiction. This may seem like a relatively small number, but it is larger than the number of people who gamble in the UK. The increasing number of suicides among teenagers in Bridgend in 2008 may have led to the question of how social networking sites could possibly lead to depressive thoughts in some teenagers. As found in the Leeds study, it is more likely for a younger person to become addicted to the Internet than a middle-aged person. The study also reinforces the idea that when Web sites are used to replace a normal social life, it may lead to psychological disorders like addiction and depression.
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