Popular myth debunked: Urban, rural youth almost equally addicted to Internet

The study also established a relationship between Internet use and prevalence of depression.

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Smartphones are the most common media for internet usage.
A study by city-based Nimhans busts general perception; says those with high internet use could be at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety.

Youth in rural areas are as addicted to the internet as those in urban areas, a study by the city-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) has found. A paper on the study, conducted by the SHUT (Services for Healthy Use of Technology) clinic for 18 months between 2017 and 2019, was published last month and has been accepted for publication in ‘The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care’. The study explored the pattern of internet use in urban and rural areas and its impact on mood states.

A total of 731 individuals (403 males and 328 females) in the age group of 18-25 years from one urban city and one rural town within Karnataka were approached for the study. A rural town with good internet penetration was chosen for the study. Smartphones were found to be the most common media for internet usage.


stressed
The study also established a relationship between internet use and prevalence of depression.


The statistics from the study were nearly similar in the urban and rural centres. The percentage of users whose internet usage was high enough to be considered an addiction was 1.3% and 3.5% in the urban and rural centres, respectively. Although addiction among rural users was slightly higher than among their urban counterparts, researchers concluded that the sample size is not large enough to categorically state that more rural users are addicted. The percentage of ‘moderate’ usage of internet, that is, higher than prescribed usage but still not high enough to be termed as addiction, was 41% in both centres.

Prof Manoj Kumar Sharma, clinical psychologist at SHUT clinic, who headed the study, said the data indicated that not much difference was seen in internet usage patterns in rural and urban areas, contrary to the general perception.
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The study also established a relationship between internet use and prevalence of depression. Respondents with higher internet use were found to be at a higher risk of experiencing depression. “However, it is important to highlight that this relationship is bi-directional. From the cases we have received at the clinic, we have found that in many cases, people going through depression could tend to spend more time online as a coping mechanism,” Sharma said.

Similarly, respondents with higher use were at a greater risk of facing anxiety. Among respondents who reported an addiction to internet, 16.7% of them were found to be facing anxiety. In comparison, among respondents with ‘normal’ and mild’ use, only 0.5% and 1% were going through anxiety. However, no such pattern was detected when it came to stress and internet use.

Make Notes, Eat Healthy & Exercise Daily: 7 Ways To Fight Depression
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Stress and frustration can lead to depression, further affecting mental health.

While it is imperative to consult with a medical professional if symptoms of depression are noticed, certain modification in one's lifestyle can help in combatting mild depression. However, moderate to severe depression requires the treatment with medications.

Nevertheless lifestyle changes do help in recovering as well as preventing the condition and future episodes.

Dr Pallavi Aravind Joshi, Consultant Psychiatrist of Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield (Bengaluru) shares 7 tips to combat depression.
Stress and frustration can lead to depression, further affecting mental health. While it is imperative to consult with a medical professional if symptoms of depression are noticed, certain modifica..
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Go for a walk every day, jog, or swim. You can also join a Zumba class. Indulge in yoga or aerobics. Apart from keeping you fit and occupied, exercising can also boost mental health and infuse posit..
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Eating healthy not only helps you maintain your physical health, but also aids in your mental well-being. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods and fish in your diet. Also do not forget to drink a lot of water.
Eating healthy not only helps you maintain your physical health, but also aids in your mental well-being. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, whole grains, low-fat dairy fo..
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It is imperative to maintain a work-life balance. Try to reassess your schedule and not to bring the office work home. Design your own ways to combat work related anxiety.
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Though the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine may act as instant mood enhancer, in long term, they serve only to worsen your mental health. So try to reduce your weekly consumption.
Though the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine may act as instant mood enhancer, in long term, they serve only to worsen your mental health. So try to reduce your weekly consumption.
Depression can cause distraction, and make you forget things and thus can result in creating confusion and thereby affecting self-esteem. A great way to deal with this is keeping reminders on your phone, or jotting down key points on sticky notes.
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Do not let your work stress keep you away from your family and friends. Spend time with your family. Meet your friends, go out for movies, make plans get together. Even a short phone call or text exchanges could work like magic on a stressful day.
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Remember it is okay to be not okay, but it is never okay to give up on yourself. Get up, dress smartly and go out in the world. Pamper yourself a little more. Make a list of the things which make you cheerful and do at least one thing every day.
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The paper defines internet addiction as a psychological dependence on the internet characterised by: (a) an increasing investment of resources on internet-related activities, (b) unpleasant feelings (for example, anxiety, depression, emptiness) when offline, (c) an increasing tolerance to the effects of being online, and (d) denial of the problematic behaviour.
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Study sample
In all, 731 individuals (403 males and 328 females) aged 18-25 years from one urban city and one rural town in the state were approached for the study.

18-month Month study

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The study was conducted by the SHUT (Services for Healthy Use of Technology) clinic for 18 months between 2017 and 2019.
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