Excessive computer use spurs risky behaviour among teens

April 26th, 2011 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 26 (IANS) Excessive computer use among adolescents can spur multiple-risk behaviour (MRB) like drug use, drunkenness and unprotected sex.

“Since adolescents are exposed to considerable screen time — over 4.5 hours on average each day, they’re constantly seeing images of behaviours they can potentially adopt,” explains Valerie Carson, who led new research in this regard.

“TV and video games have more established protocols in terms of censorship, but internet protocols aren’t as established,” adds Carson, doctoral candidate in School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, reports the Journal of Preventative Medicine.

“Parents can make use of programmes that control access to internet, but adolescents these days are quite savvy about technology and the internet. It’s possible that these types of controls aren’t effective in blocking all undesirable websites,” says Carson.

Researchers found that high computer use was associated with approximately 50 percent increased engagement with a cluster of six MRBs, including smoking, drunkenness, non-use of seat-belts, cannabis and illicit drug use, and unprotected sex, according to a Kinesiology School statement.

One explanation behind this finding is that a considerable amount of advertising that used to be shown on TV is now being shown on the internet. In addition, computer usage by adolescents has increased considerably in recent years.

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