Depression and Internet Usage

Sriram Chellappan and Raghavendra Kotikalapudi wrote an interesting piece called “How Depressives Surf the Web” for The New York Times. Their findings include:

The more a participant’s score on the survey indicated depression, the more his or her Internet usage included…high levels of [peer-to-peer] sharing files (like movies and music)…very high e-mail usage…[and] increased amounts of video watching, gaming and chatting.

This is why I feel like online social communities, such as Reddit, play such an important role on the Internet. These signals of depression are the same types of behavior that bond such networks together. They make people feel like they’re not alone, like there are others (hundreds of thousands of others) feeling the same, thinking the same, and relating to their individual personal experiences.

So what do Sriram and Raghavendra plan to do with this research?

We hope to use our findings to develop a software application that could be installed on home computers and mobile devices. It would monitor your Internet usage and alert you when your usage patterns might signal symptoms of depression.

The application will then generate a post for r/DAE, complete with more kittens than you can count.

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