Posted by: laughs4dads | September 13, 2010

Depressing News for Web Surfing Teens

In a post on ParentDish, humorously entitled “Pathological Internet Use Linked to Depression in Teens, Study Shows,” Monique El-Faizy tells us about research that seems to indicate that too much Web surfing can lead to great sorrow, unless you spend all your online time at

The study, which will be published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, (reserve your copy now!) looked at more than 1,000 teens in China who had an average age of 15. The kids were screened for depression and completed a questionnaire to help the researchers identify pathological Internet use and identify typical addiction behaviors and feelings, such as nervousness when off-line that disappears once back online.

When initially assessed, 6.2 percent of the teens were found to be moderately pathological in their Internet use, and 0.2 percent were severely so. The occurrence of depression was two-and-a-half times higher in those who used the Internet pathologically.

This raises two crucial questions:

  1. Moderately pathological? Isn’t that one of those…what do you call them…like ”military intelligence” … an Oxyclean? A stupid moron? Something like that. And if someone says, “Hi, I’m Jim and I’m a moderately pathological liar,” is his name really Xavier?
  2. Did the researchers take into account that the participants had something in common besides their pathological Internet use? For instance, they were all Chinese!

I mean, not to disparage an entire country, but these kids probably grew up playing with toys that were covered with lead paint, if they could afford toys at all. That’s pretty sad. Plus, they’re like one of the few remaining Communist nations on Earth. Do you know how sad it must be to be among the last of your species? And, most depressing of all, I understand that they cannot get General Tso’s chicken in their country! That’s right–they exported it all to America!

So how can they blame the eternal sadness of the online mind solely on the Internet?

Of course, the bright side of Web weepiness is that you’re online anyway, so it’s easy to get Zoloft or Paxil from one of those Canadian pharmacies that are always sending me e-mail.

Interestingly, the researchers found no relationship between pathological Internet use and anxiety. Which means the users are depressed, but they don’t get all worked up about it.

So what are we to do about all this? Well, the study recommends that “schools screen for kids who are pathological in their Internet use and provide them counseling and treatment.”

And how exactly would that screening work?

First let the schools figure out how to screen for pathological use of, oh, I don’t know, maybe automatic weapons. Then we can worry about too much time online.



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