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Even to the most disciplined office workers, the distractions of online shopping, Instant Messaging and email can prove irresistible. Despite the potential for procrastination, many employees believe the Internet makes them better at their work—as a recent New York Times article reports ("American Workers Say Internet Makes Them More Productive," December 2014).

 

Whether you are working or retired, it is likely that you spend a good deal of your time online: The Pew Research Center found that 57% of older Americans use the Internet (as of January 2014). From looking up directions to discovering new recipes—it's much easier to find what you're looking for online.

 

Surfing the web may even be good for your mental health, according to a study done last year. Reuters reported that, among older Americans, regular Internet users are approximately a third less likely to suffer from depression than non-users ("Retirees who use the Internet less likely to be depressed," April 2014).

 

This shouldn't be too surprising, since depression often results from social isolation, and the Internet makes it easier for us to connect with others.

 

Previous studies suggest the main reason older people go online is to stay in touch with their loved ones, usually through email. When traveling to see family members becomes difficult or impractical, exchanging emails can be a wonderful way to stay in contact and keep loneliness at bay.

 

And for those in their 80s, 90s, or even 100s who haven't yet logged on, it's never too late to learn.

 

Do you find the Internet makes you more productive? What about happier? Share your thoughts.