Published online January 2, 2008
PEDIATRICS Vol. 121 Supplement January 2008, pp. S89-S90 (doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2022D)
INTERNET USE AND ABUSE IN AN ADOLESCENT POPULATION IN ATHENS: ASSOCIATIONS WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE AND LIFESTYLE OF USERS
Elli Tripodaki, Georgios Kormas, Eleftheria Konstantoulaki, Elisabeth Andrie, Georgios Nassis, Aliki Freskou, Maria Sfiri, Helen Georgouli, Artemis Tsitsika and Andreas Constantopoulos
Adolescent Health Unit, Second Department of Pediatrics, Panagiotis and Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
INTRODUCTION: Use of the Internet has become very popular among youth, but phenomena of Web abuse with negative physical and psychosocial consequences have emerged.
OBJECTIVE: The researchers’ goal was to study Internet use and abuse by Greek adolescents and to identify the psychological profile and lifestyle of users. Intervention attempts will also be designed and discussed.
METHODS: An Athens adolescent population representative sample of 315 (164 boys, 151 girls) high school students (mean age: 15 years) were included in the study. For Internet-addiction diagnosis, an international tool (Young’s Internet Addiction Test questionnaire) was used. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was applied to screen for emotional and behavioral problems. Physical activity and physical fitness were also assessed with appropriate questions. Correlation and 2 statistics were performed by using SPSS (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL).
RESULTS: According to the results, 167 (53.4%) of 315 adolescents were using the Internet for >1 year, 82 (26%) of 315 reported daily use, and 25 (8%) of 315 reported >20 hours’ use weekly. Boys were spending significantly more time using the Internet than girls (P < .05). According to Young's Questionnaire scoring, no youngster in our sample was addicted. However, in 28 (9.4%) of 315 adolescents, Young's Questionnaire scoring was suggestive of occasional or frequent problems of Internet overuse. The most frequent reason for using the Internet was games (P < .05), and 18 (5.8%) of 315 children in our sample were cyberbullying victims. There was a positive correlation of Internet use and hyperactivity according to the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire results (P < .05). Positive correlations were also noted for Internet use and delinquency (P < .001) as well as dysfunctional peer relationships (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Use of the Internet is popular among Greek youth, and it can be related to psychosocial problems if overused.