Although concerns are often raised about the effects of computer gaming and internet use on social relations amongst adolescents, the results of relevant studies have been contradictory. We recently published a study that aimed to investigate whether perceived problems with computer gaming and internet use are associated with young people’s social relations.
The data for this article came from the Aarhus School Survey, which was held in 2009 in Denmark and is contributing to the HBSC study. Questionnaires were collected from 2,100 students aged 5, 7 and 9. Two main aspects of social relations were studied: structural (for example number of days/week with spent with friends, number of friends) and functional (for example confidence in others, social support, bullying).
The results can be summarised as follows:
– Most young people perceived their computer gaming and internet use as unproblematic; however, there was a large minority who perceive problems in their use of computer games and internet.
– Perceived problems in computer gaming were more common among boys, while girls reported more perceived problems with internet use.
– Perception of problems related to computer gaming were associated with almost all aspects of poor social relations among boys. Among girls, an association was only seen for bullying.
– For both boys and girls. perceived problems related to internet use were associated with bullying only.
The authors conclude that computer gaming and internet use may be harmful to young people’s social relation.
What do you think?
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