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Yale University Researchers Say 1 in 25 American Teens Struggle with ‘Problematic Internet Usage’

Trying to get a handle on the scope of internet addiction in American today, Yale researchers questioned 10 000 Connecticut high school students about their online practices. They say that 4% of these teens are using the internet in ways that cause problems and that these kids are also more likely to be depressed, get in fights and use drugs and tobacco.

After questioning 10 000 high school students in Connecticut on their internet use practices and also on such things as school performance, aggression, drug and alcohol use etc. Yale University researchers have concluded that about 4% of American high school students have internet use problems and that students with internet use problems are more likely to have aggression or depression issues and use drugs.

Specific findings from the study include:

  • 4% of teens polled met the criteria for problematic internet usage. These students admitted to having tried and failed to cut down on internet use, feeling tension that could only be relieved by getting online and by feeling irresistible urges to get and stay online
  • Students who met the criteria for problematic internet usage were more likely to be depressed and to get into fights
  • Males who met the criteria for problematic internet usage were also more likely to use drugs and smoke cigarettes
  • Asian and Hispanic students were most likely to have a problem with internet usage
  • 17% of boys and 13% of girls admitted to spending more than 20 hours per week online
  • Problematic internet usage was not associated with poor school performance

The study authors note that although they did see a relationship between problematic internet usage and depression, aggression and substance abuse, they cannot say that the internet usage causes these other problems, or vice-versa.

The full research findings were published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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