Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


No harm in extended internet use


Heavy Internet use may be therapeutic for those people facing social isolation and loneliness, says a University of Alberta study--dispelling the belief that high computer usage leads to psychological problems.

A team of researchers, lead by graduate student Mary Modayil, challenged the notion that heavy Internet use increases levels of depression for its users. The research was recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology and Behavior.

Modayil and her team, made up of Dr. Gus Thompson and Dr. Doug Wilson from Public Health Sciences and Dr. Stanley Varnhagen from the Faculty of Extension, tested the widespread belief and the results of a previous studies that found being online for long periods results in greater social isolation.

"To me, anecdotal evidence suggested otherwise, which was a good reason to do the study," said Modayil.

During the summer of 2000, Modayil, then a master’s student in the Department of Public Health Sciences, questioned online users in the Edmonton area about their psychological well-being. This region consistently collects health information through government-mandated questionnaires which gave the research team a comparison group in the general population to use against the Internet sample.

In almost all variables she found that Internet users on average scored more negatively than the regular community. However, for each of the psychological items, she also asked when the Internet users first experienced their symptoms and "found that onset of psychological symptoms clearly preceded Internet use," at a range of five to 22 years. The research also showed that the Internet group reported a greater tendency toward membership in voluntary organizations and a higher level of helping others.

Those findings suggest that Internet use is possibly supportive and therapeutic and despite their other difficulties, these individuals are maintaining some form of social connectedness away from the computer, said Modayil.

"It is quite conceivable that socially awkward individuals, who nonetheless crave social interaction, would gravitate to a medium that allows for myriad social interactions of varying degrees of intimacy, but with the safety accorded by the controllable anonymity of electronic contact," said the researchers in the paper.

Modayil is now working towards her doctorate in Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>