Do You Spend Too Much Time Online?
Don't be too sure until you've read this. You might be an addict.

August 29, 2011

phone online internet

A bit of internet boosts your life satisfaction and wellbeing, but you can get too much of a good thing, argues a new study.

Researchers from France and Luxembourg wondered whether the internet improves people’s lives, so they combed data from several European lifestyle surveys, eventually focusing on one country: tiny (but wealthy) Luxembourg.

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Does the internet make you sad?

Of the 1,300+ Luxemburgish (yes, that’s a real word) who took the survey, those without internet access were 57% less likely to say they were satisfied with their lives than frequent online users. Although percentages varied slightly, those differences remained even after the researchers adjusted for health, income, and social relationships.

But here’s where things get interesting: More internet use did not lead to more satisfaction among the users. With health and income factors, researchers found that life satisfaction dropped by about 18% among everyday users compared to those who used it less.

But there’s a good side, right?

The benefits of the internet, according to study author Nicolas Poussing, Ph.D., include finding work more easily, staying connected with friends, and shopping for goods and services. In fact, a University of Chicago study determined that the internet saves users roughly $3,000 annually based on time saved and deals found shopping online. But you don’t need to spend six hours a day on the Internet to experience those benefits, Poussing says.

To avoid social isolation, shoot for about an hour of daily internet use when you’re not working. If you’re online more than 10 hours per week, you’ll start to lose connections with friends and family members. And avoid gambling or gaming online. Both are serious risk factors for internet “addiction,” according to Chinese researchers.

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