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Using Your Computer This Way May Wreck Your Mental Health


Many of us like to multitask, performing more than one activity at the same time. But research shows that your multitasking habits may be ruining your mental health.

A study at Michigan State University finds that using multiple forms of media at the same time, like playing a computer game while watching TV, is linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“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,” says researcher Mark Becker.

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, Becker observes.

Filed Under: Alternative MedicineEasy Health Options NewsMental and Cognitive Health

About the Author: Carl Lowe has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.

Facebook Conversations

  • Scott

    The article correctly notes that this form of multitasking may be the effect, rather than the cause, of the anxiety and depression, which is reflected by the word “may” in the otherwise misleading title. More research must be done in order to separate cause ans effect, and whether such multitasking alleviates or exacerbates anxiety and depression. It may well be that such multitasking actually provides a healthy distraction for people who are already suffering anxiety and depression. Until such research is done, an article such as this one is irresponsible because it suggests that multitasking causes mental problems.

  • HPM

    I agree with Scott. The title of the article is still more irresponsible.


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  • http://http juda

    I find what I can find not worthy. There are U.S. and Chinese scientific brain studies proving that there are brain physio/neuro changes with Youth that can lead to mental illness. I have been saying this since 1997. Young people (pre-puberty) are still developing. Their natural (I think) sensory system is being attacked by electronic vibrations thru hands, eyes, body cells. All of the young male mass killers were into computors for years. The on-set so called Autism and Asbergers and and and I suspect are caused by too much exposure to electronics. Boys 17 to mid 20s developing mental illness at a much increased amount. I’m 3. I’ve watched. I remember when this studd wasn’t around. Early childhood should be outdoors! No parents engineering their every move. Spontaneous play and exploration. This dis-ease in our culture is epidemic and very costly.

    • http://http juda

      Sorry on spelling and numbers (73) and stuff (not studd)

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  • Lonny Hinch

    Social anxiety disorder greatly reduces the quality of a person’s life. People who suffer from social anxiety miss out on so much that life has to offer. Opportunities are greatly limited, because the person who suffers from social anxiety cannot take advantage of any opportunity that might require social interaction – and most opportunities in life do require some sort of social interaction.-

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