*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Many kids today have never experienced life without the internet. Advances in technology, such as smartphones and apps, allow us to answer questions, interact with each other, and even entertain ourselves all with the click of a button. Previous research has shown the risks that come with overusing technology. Now, in a recent study, researchers have uncovered a link between depression and problematic internet use (PIU) among teens.
In Helsinki, Finland, study authors collected data from 1,750 teens over the span of three years. The international team analyzed the data to determine possible causes of PIU, whether it varies in older teens (16-19 years old), and the effects of PIU on that particular age group.
The researchers found primary reasons for PIU, one of which is loneliness. Previous studies have also found loneliness to be a determinant of PIU.
Another determinant of PIU researchers discovered is the quality of parental guidance and discipline. The researchers found that teens with parents who show interest and care displayed lower levels of PIU, whereas, those with neglectful parents showed higher PIU.
When analyzing the effect of gender on PIU, girls were less likely to participate in PIU than boys. Previous studies have found that boys are more susceptible to compulsive behaviors and may have other alternatives such as watching videos on YouTube, gaming, or pornography. Similar studies have found that girls are more inclined to use the internet for socialization.
Consequences of PIU include symptoms of depression, increased substance abuse, and decreased academic achievement.
Increases in substance abuse and an overall decrease in academic achievement were also found to be consequences of PIU. Both seem to co-occur with PIU.
The findings appeared in the journal Child Development.