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June 10, 2013

Internet Access Cuts Depression in Senior Citizens

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

Whenever studies are conducted to learn about the Internet and its users, one thing is usually a constant: people like to be able to have Internet access. One such study showed that people would actually go without food for a couple of days rather than go without Internet. That is why it shouldn’t be particularly surprising that a new study shows that Internet use among senior citizens can actually cut into feelings of depression.

The study, entitled “Revisiting Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly,” released by the Phoenix Center, said that Internet use could cut depression by 34 percent. That number is actually quite a bit higher than when the center did the same kind of study in 2009, which had showed that Internet use could reduce depression by anywhere from 20 to 29 percent.

This is most likely one of the reasons why study after study is showing that more adults are using the Internet and devices that can connect to the Internet more often. State governments like Texas have recognized the importance of having Internet access and have taken steps like offering up tax rebates in order to lure companies that provide the service into the state.

The Internet does indeed serve a pretty profound purpose in this day and age. Senior citizens can use sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay in touch with friends and family members who may live in another state. With programs like Skype (News - Alert) and Apple’s FaceTime, they can even have live chats with those friends and family members, even if they live thousands of miles away.

The study underlined that it is indeed in the best interest of state governments to increase Internet access. Other studies have said that depression, and the aftereffects of depression costs the United States about $100 billion per year. That means that allowing more Internet access, especially to the elderly will actually cut into those costs considerably.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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