Young people end up neglecting key areas of their life that lead to a better sense of well being, such as exercising and socialising with friends in person, when they spend too much time surfing the net and using social media sites like Facebook.
The researchers at the University of Gothenburg also found that using the computer excessively can lead to mental disorders after studying the year-long habits of over 4,100 Swedish people aged between 20 and 24.
Author of the report Sara Thomee said: “High quantitative use was a central link between computer use and stress, sleep disturbances, and depression, described by the young adults.”
She added: “It was easy to spend more time than planned at the computer (e.g., working, gaming, or chatting), and this tended to lead to time pressure, neglect of other activities and personal needs (such as social interaction, sleep, physical activity), as well as bad ergonomics, and mental overload.”
The team also found that being constantly contactable by phone leaves many people feeling stressed – some feel guilty for not returning calls and messages on time.
The researchers advised that people should limit the time they spend on the phone and on the computer each day to reduce their stress levels and the risk of developing mental disorders.
Other studies have highlighted that the average Facebook user spends 75 minutes of their day on the site and logs in 6.1 times per day. More than a quarter of people feel uneasy if they cannot log in to the social network regularly.