>> Jun 22, 2012
Research has shown that the pattern of your Internet use can give some clues to your mental well-being. Your way of spending time online, types of videos you watch, checking your email obsessively suggests the condition of your mental health. Switching frequently among various Internet applications like file downloading to games to chat rooms can give some idea about your state of mind. In a study of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine it is found that there is a difference between the Internet use of a student who has signs of depression and a student who has no symptoms of depression.
Last Year, 216 undergraduate volunteers were recruited at Missouri University of Science and Technology. In the first step, there is a questionnaire for the participants called Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale which is generally used to measure the level of depression in general people. It is shown from the survey that 30 percent of the participants have the symptoms of depression.
From this study we can estimate that 10 to 40 percent of college students experience such symptoms at some point. Next, the campus Internet usage data for the participants was provided by the Information Technology Department of the University. It was not for sneaking whom the students were e-mailing or what they are looking for in the Internet, it was only for checking how they were using the Internet. The information was gathered by the traffic flow collected by the University at the time of troubleshooting network connections.
Finally, when the statistical analysis of the Internet usage data and the depression scores was conducted, two major findings were there. Firstly, it was discovered that the participants who scored high in the depression meter follows a particular trend like high level of sharing files such as movies and music. Secondly, it was noticed that, there is a difference between the style of Internet using among the participants with depression and the participants without depression. For example, there was a frequent using of emails by the participants with depressive symptoms that indicates high level of anxiety. It was researched by the great psychologists Phyllis Schumacher and Janet Morahan-Martin.
Excessively switching among the Internet Applications like games, e-mails and chat rooms indicates the difficulty in concentrating which is a very common depression symptom among students. There are some other characteristic features that show depressive Internet behavior such as high level of gaming, video watching and chatting.
The practical application of this research is to develop a software application that could be installed in the mobile devices or in the home computers to monitor your Internet usage. It will be a cost effective way to understand your mental state and seek medical help as soon as possible because when your Internet usage pattern signals signs of depression it will give you an alert. It will be a great help for the student counselors to understand the depressive behaviors of the students, if this type of software is used at the universities. Medical Science is trying so hard in finding solutions for the mental health problems in young people and I think monitoring Internet usage will be a great help for them.
Dr. Williams has been working on subjects like mental disorders, depression treatment, mental health and now he loves to share his experience through his articles about missouri psychiatrist, psychiatric services and many more.