Overtime online can lead to depression
The online world vs physical world
It’s quite common to be addicted to your computer or laptop. So many of us watch TV whilst looking at our laptops. It makes us feel as if we are combining leisure time plus being productive at the same time. I believe we are conditioned to feel that we should always be doing something worthwhile in order to feel we are valued members of society. How often do you catch yourself googling something you don’t know about, or catching up on Twitter or Facebook? We live in an information age where we are overloaded daily by news and it can cause us to feel overwhelmed.
When we spend too much time online, we can get sucked into a virtual world that can slowly but deliberately shift us off track. In the physical world we can begin to unwittingly isolate ourselves in favour of our online world. This is a dangerous move and if we don’t keep a balance we will end up so far off track that we end up anxious and possibly depressed.
True happiness comes from face to face interactions and sharing life moments together. When we feel connected and bonded it allows us to feel alive and involved. This experience can never be fully recreated online. Being online though is easy and safe…we can control how we present ourselves. In reality we could have ‘mad professor’ hair that hasn’t seen a brush in a while and still be snug in our pj’s whilst sending business emails (I know I’m guilty). The online world helps us feel more in control. The long term effects of our burgeoning online society however might possibly be a society where we become more isolated from each other. Where we spend extended periods of time without physically interacting with others which will affect our social effficacy and confidence. This will serve to reinforce the emerging pattern of reduced physical contact from others.
What you can do:
Be aware of how much time you spend online and ensure that you balance time online with seeing others face to face.
Arrange regular face-to-face meetings with others – friends, family, colleagues.
Realise that the online world cannot replace the physical world in terms of social experiences.
Many social cues are limited online. Spending too much time online can diminish your social skills and make you more reluctant to socialise. It becomes a dangerous self-perpetuating cycle.
Get out the house more – go for a walk, go shopping…make sure you keep perspective on your online world can offer you.
Create clear boundaries between work and home, especially if you work from home and spend a lot of time online.
Never allow the online world to replace needs that you would normally have filled through the physical world. For example – online relationships (long distance relationships or relationships where there is mostly online contact). Social relationships on Facebook. There is a chance that we can end up deluding ourselves if we become too attached to the online world – especially if our physical world is lacking in terms of personal relationships.
A happy life consists of balance. Modern technology will keep marching on and the better we get at handling and balancing this, the more successful and happy we will be.