We are living our lives on the Internet these days but the widespread use of internet has sparked growing concern over its effect on our health.
Can the excessive use of Internet impact our mental health and well-being?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Problematic Use of the Internet (PUI) as a mental health disorder in 2014. But despite increased awareness, no international research on the internet’s impact on mental health has been conducted until now.
Now, a team of European scientists announced the formation of the ’European Problematic Use of the Internet’ (EU-PUI) research network. The network aims to create a hub to better understand psychological problems linked to internet usage and stop harmful web usage.
Research Network has been awarded approx $600,000 in funding by the European Union
Its objectives are to figure out the role genetics might play in problematic internet usage and learn about problem behaviors, such as gaming addiction and compulsions related to shopping and social network use.
The team has identified 9 main areas of research:
- What is problematic use of the internet?
- How do we measure problem use, especially in different cultures and age groups?
- How does problem use affect health and quality of life?
- What long-terms studies do we need to show if the problems change over time?
- How can we make it easier to recognize problem use?
- What does genetics and personality tell us?
- Do different cultures, family influences or design features of websites and applications impact on problem use?
- How can we develop and test preventative interventions and treatments?
- Can we develop biomarkers?
The next step will be to find out how to prevent and treat these issues to ensure the internet is a positive force on the mental health.