Chatting online linked to depression

by Brooke Strickland

Chatting online seems harmless. You can talk to friends that you don’t normally talk to via phone and it’s a quick way to catch up.  But recently, a study conducted by Missouri University of Science and Technology polled 216 college students and showed that the students who scored high on surveys for depressive symptoms followed similar patterns of Internet use: excessive chatting, frequent email checking, or frequent switching between applications.  [1]  Other studies have showed that excessive Internet use has been linked to depression, especially in teens and young adults, so this study’s results line up with these findings.  While the study shows correlations between depression and Internet use, it does not prove that one causes the other.

It makes sense, though.  Think about those who sit in front of a computer all day.  It’s isolating.  It’s often lonely.  So, trying to reach out and connect to the outside world through online chatting can be a way to try to minimize the lonely or depressed feelings that one is dealing with internally.  

So, how can we minimize depression in these young adults and get them back on track to a healthy, happier lifetime?  If you think the amount of time you spend on the Internet is excessive, consider how you can cut back your time spent and spend it with real-life people and situations.  Absorbing yourself in online games, chatting with people you don’t know in chat rooms, or surfing the web for hours on end are all recipes for seclusion and isolation from friends and family that really love you.  If you can’t break these Internet habits, contact a counselor to talk through your feelings of why you may be immersing yourself in the Web rather than real life.  If you think you are living with depression, talk to your doctor and find out options to remedy it.

Internet addiction and excessive Internet use is a very real problem.  For more information, visit


[1] Gates, Sara.  “Excessive Chatting Online Linked to Depression: Study.” The Huffington Post.  May 21, 2012.  Accessed June 2, 2012.