Our online obsession is making us 'mentally obese'

GORGING on the information superhighway may be weighing down our lives and stealing our joy, according to new research.

The latest survey on internet usage shows one in 10 prefer to scour the internet over "being intimate" with their partner.

Founder of the Happiness Institute and clinical psychologist Dr Tim Sharp named the problem "mental obesity".

He said the amount of data, information and tidbits being picked up as we trawled our digital worlds was becoming too much.

"Mental obesity is when we're swamped with a high frequency of useless information that impacts our ability to function as a happy and healthy person," Dr Sharp said.

Dr Sharp's Institute is dedicated to helping people, families and corporations become happier.

Research commissioned by mobile application Newsloop, quizzed 1029 people, aged between 16 and 34.

It found those web-savvy Aussies were frittering away more than 21 hours a day on the internet, through computers, online gaming and other activities.

A quarter of those surveyed said they experienced lethargy, sleep problems, backaches and pain in their fingers.

Dr Sharp warned such psychological symptoms could be contributors to anxiety, depression and stress.

The less we interacted with others, he said, the more likely we were to become overweight, lonely and more depressed.

To become more mentally lean, Dr Sharp suggests people stop allowing technology to determine how they use their time and "take control of their lives".


  • The average person between 18-34 is "connected" for 18 hours a day.
  • 25% of those are connected more than 21 hours a day.
  • On average, those surveyed dealt with 36 notifications a day.
  • 25% spend two hours a day reading/sending SMSes.
  • 39% blame changes in their weight on their online use.
  • 25% worry their lives would be "empty and joyless" without the internet.

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