Higher Internet Use Tied to Poorer Mental Health in Teens

FRIDAY, March 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Higher than average internet use is associated with poorer mental health in teens, according to a study published online March 23 in PLOS ONE.

Yeunhee Kwak, R.N., Ph.D., from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues investigated the relationship between Korean adolescents’ internet usage time and their mental health using data from 29,811 high school students (ages 16 to 18 years) participating in the 2018 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey.

The researchers found that participants’ mean internet usage time was 193.4 minutes/day. There were associations observed between internet usage time and sex, grade level, type of school, living arrangement, economic status, academic achievement, and experience of school violence. Compared to less than average internet usage, more than average internet usage was associated with poorer subjective health, higher levels of stress, and increased feelings of sadness and suicidal ideation.

“The results suggest the need for interventions that increase the awareness of the risks for adolescents’ mental health and management of mental health for those adolescents who spend an excessive amount of time using the internet,” the authors write. “As a means to reduce feelings of sadness, suicidal ideation, and stress among adolescents, educational programs that teach appropriate internet usage and duration of internet use need to be developed and implemented.”

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