Never mind ruining your eyesight, alienating your friends, or developing a serious Vitamin D deficiency — apparently spending too much time in front of a computer screen could lead to serious mental health disorders. According to a recent study perpetrated by a group of researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, devoting a large section of your life to online shenanigans could result in stress, sleep deprivation, and depression.
Of course, it’s not so much the act of sitting in front of the computer that causes these problems as it is the time you waste doing so. Sara Thomee, lead author of this revealing study, explains that, when you’re devoting that much of your life towards one particular thing, you essentially allow other things to fall by the wayside, thus creating the unwanted stress.
“High quantitative use was a central link between computer use and stress, sleep disturbances, and depression, described by the young adults,” Thomee explained in the study. “It was easy to spend more time than planned at the computer (e.g., working, gaming, or chatting), and this tended to lead to time pressure, neglect of other activities and personal needs (such as social interaction, sleep, physical activity), as well as bad ergonomics, and mental overload.”
Spend a lot of time on the phone? You’re at risk, as well. Being available 24/7, for whatever reason, can often lead to feelings of being trapped, of “never being free” from those who wish to monopolize all of your time. And when you skip out on not returning calls or checking your voicemail right away, feelings of guilt can set in.
Last, but certainly not least, are the video gamers. They, too, are at risk for depression and sleep reduction, not to mentioned a reduced and underperforming libido. “Daily computer gaming for 1–2 hours meant an increased risk for symptoms of depression in the women. Often using the computer late at night (and consequently losing sleep) was a prospective risk factor for stress and sleep disturbances, including reduced performance, in both sexes,” the study revealed.
Once again, folks, we’re at that point where we simply cannot moderate our activities. Be it eating or computing or gaming or chatting — we’re a gluttonous lot, and our bodies and minds ultimately pay the price for our behavior. So the next time you find yourself wandering around Skyrim for hours at a time, perhaps you should take a break and do something else for a little while. Give your brain a break, treat your legs to some exercise.
As David Byrne used to say, “It might do you some good”.