Excessive use of the Internet, including smartphones and social media apps, is believed to harm mental health.
But this idea has been rejected in a new study by the Oxford Internet Institute.
The study examined the effects of internet use and mental health among individuals around the world.
The study examined clinical mental health data from 2005 to 2022 on 2.4 million people aged 15 to 89 from 168 countries.
The research found that there is little evidence that excessive internet use has negative effects on mental health.
“We worked hard to find a link between technology and mental health problems, but we couldn’t find one,” the researchers said.
The research also examined data on rates of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety in 200 countries between 2000 and 2019.
This data was compared with the rate of internet usage during this period.
According to the researchers, the research did not find evidence to support the idea that the Internet and technologies such as smartphones harm the personality or mental health of people around the world.
“We found no evidence to suggest that the mental health of certain age groups, such as teenagers, could be at risk from excessive internet use,” he added.
The researchers advised technology companies to ensure transparency regarding their data.
He said that research on the effects of Internet technologies is not done much because companies hide the data that is necessary for any research.
Regardless of the findings of this study, social media companies have been under fire for years for being blamed for the mental health problems of the younger generation.
A report in 2021, citing internal Facebook documents, revealed that 32 percent of girls who use Instagram feel inferior after comparing their personality to others.
In October 2023, several US states filed a lawsuit against Meta, alleging that its social media apps were harming the mental health of young people.
According to the lawsuit documents, the company deliberately designs features that make young people addicted to social media platforms.