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- No evidence of negative impact from internet and mobile broadband on psychological well-being.
- Studies show mixed and small-scale changes in global well-being over the past two decades.
The internet's influence on mental health has been a topic of significant debate over the last two decades. Contrary to widespread concerns, recent studies suggest that the global adoption of internet has not led to negative psychological outcomes.
This article examines two comprehensive studies that focus on the correlation between internet technology adoption and changes in global well-being and mental health.
Study 1: Analyzing global well-being
The first study analyzed psychological well-being across 168 countries from 2005 to 2022. The research, involving over two million individuals, assessed life satisfaction, positive experiences, and negative experiences. The data, juxtaposed with internet and mobile broadband usage statistics, revealed only minor and inconsistent shifts in global well-being.
These findings challenge the notion that the proliferation of internet technologies has broadly harmful psychological effects.
Study 2: Mental health in focus
The second study extended the investigation to mental health, analyzing meta-analytic rates of anxiety, depression, and self-harm across 202 countries. The results showed minimal changes in these mental health indicators over time. Notably, the study found no significant correlation between internet technology adoption and mental health issues, challenging assertions that internet use is a major contributing factor to mental health decline.
Both studies underscored considerable variability across countries and demographics. While there were slight trends indicating that young individuals might be more affected by internet technology adoption, these associations were small and not consistently observed across different mental health outcomes.
Conclusion: No negative impact
In conclusion, the comprehensive analysis across these two studies indicates that the adoption of internet technologies has not had a negative impact on global well-being and mental health.
These findings suggest that while internet technology may play a role in individual mental health cases, it is not a predominant factor at a global level.