Four Ways The Internet Can Actually Make You Healthier
It might be hard to believe, but all those hours you’ve spent on the Internet could actually be good for your health.
1. Surfing the web can boost aging brains.
The mental capacities for “complex reasoning” and “decision-making” are both elevated in the brains of older, web savvy adults. Dr. Gary Small of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA conducted the study with adults between the ages of 55 and 76, both with and without significant knowledge of Internet, and found cognitive abilities to be significantly affected by web use.
2. The internet provides a support system for those who need it most.
Social media has greatly helped those who most need someone to talk to, like victims of prejudice or the chronically ill, who may be fighting an especially dire kind of loneliness. People with a chronic disease are more likely to embrace social media than healthier users, and many help spread the information and experiences they’ve gone through with other patients.
3. Online databases have revolutionized our health savviness.
As of 2011, 80 percent of American Internet users found medical advice online through online databases such as WebMD or MayoClinic.com. Online medical databases may still be in their infancy, but newer and better systems are slowly being developed. Unfortunately, there have been setbacks, like the failure of Medpedia, or WebMD’s stock struggles. Overall, however, the credibility of these databases has been improving.
4. Want to stop smoking? The Internet can help.
In recent years, social media has helped smokers build these communities online and receive inspiration and encouragement from other smokers going through the difficult process of quitting. Reading about the lives of ex-smokers online and joining various Facebook groups has proven especially effective at helping people find the motivation to quit for good.