Interesting article. I'm a little put off that the cause/effect hasn't been looked into a bit more deeply. What I'm reading in this article is more of an overview rather than anything with any serious depth or time put into it yet. Something I've noticed in people that I already know who have become addicted is that they were already somewhat depressed or had some sort of disability already, and the online activity just filled a void they were not getting elsewhere for whatever reason. Now, that isn't to say that it never happens the other way around. I know it does but only by outside stories of it, not that I've actually seen it myself.
Is this depression or numbness?
Meaning Once logged on for many many hours people tend to see almost anything they can imagine. After you have flooded your senses with all this for such a time, it is inevitable. You will have a "retarded" sense of what is right/wrong, good/evil, entertaining/boring.
I suggest depression is a side effect of the numb individual. Also the fact you probably are in a dark room and not getting enough sunlight may hurt.
If you overdo anything you can easily get depressed. The internet is a convenient way to get some entertainment for you to feel good but then you can read something or get an email that depresses you even more.
I think the internet, and a growing preoccupation with it, is a reality of our culture, as is depression, and I think more or less, the two just dovetail - correlation does not equal causality. I have depression and I use the internet, but neither caused the other, I just use the net to help me cope with depression by keeping myself interested and entertained and doing things I AM good at, and talking to people in a way I am more comfortable with, and being able to simply disappear without any long drawn out apologies. The anonmymity is a big draw and so maybe I could see people get depressed, like the Avatar movie example, that "things in real life aren't like this".
Social media use associated with depression among US young adults
The more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed, according to new research. The findings could guide clinical and public health interventions to tackle depression, forecast to become the leading cause of disability in high-income countries by 2030. Ref. Source 4x.
The internet can sour your day if you hang out online with idiots who don't know better. Most people are fake and the genuine ones are so few its rare to encounter them often unless you hang out with these same people in the real world. Just don't fight or start an argument over anything. Keep it positive and you will come out of it that way. Online users tend to use the internet like a crutch hoping to solve their problems through surfing or whatever but instead they are making it worst instead of getting the real help they need.