The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
American parents fear their teens’ internet use could expose them to cyberbullying, harmful content, and set them up for addiction, a new study shows.
A survey of about 1,000 moms and dads found more than 22% were concerned their children might be dependent on the internet. Twice as many were worried about internet addiction as were concerned about addiction to substances like drugs or alcohol.
The new survey from researchers at the Child Mind Institute in New York City and others highlights parents’ feelings as they navigate teenagers and technology.
While some worry about internet addiction, many also say the internet has brought immediate and extended family closer together.
Study co-author Dr. Giovanni Salum, a program director for the institute, said there is an overall perception that mental health disorders are increasing over time. Evidence suggests that internet use and social media may contribute to that.
“The interesting thing about this study, though, is that it looks into both ends — the benefits and the harms,” Salum said, citing the family connectedness as a real positive.
The survey showed that almost two-thirds of parents were worried about harmful internet content and 53% about online bullying.
Yet, almost half appreciated improved connectedness among immediate family members and about 57% liked this for extended families.
The study findings were published online Oct. 26 in JAMA Network Open.