Does use of media technologies deplete our mental health? Or is it that the depressed try to numb themselves with glowing rectangles? Medical News Today writes:
Using multiple forms of media at the same time – such as playing a cellphone game while watching TV – is linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression, scientists have found for the first time.
Michigan State University’s Mark Becker, lead investigator on the study, said he was surprised to find such a clear association between media multitasking and mental health problems. What’s not yet clear is the cause. “We don’t know whether the media multitasking is causing symptoms of depression and social anxiety, or if it’s that people who are depressed and anxious are turning to media multitasking as a form of distraction from their problems,” said Becker.
Participants were asked how many hours per week they used two or more of the primary forms of media, which include television, music, cell phones, text messaging, computer and video games, web surfing and others. While overall media use among American youth has increased 20 percent in the past decade, the amount of time spent multitasking with media spiked 120 percent during that period.