In two separate studies, the prevalence of media and its direct impact on society’s youth was examined. The first study looked at how internet usage affects college students and increases their likelihood to develop depression. Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, surveyed 224 college students by administering both the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and the Patient Health Questionnaire. The results showed that four percent of the participants answered in such a way as to categorize their internet usage as problematic or addictive. The research team believes this is a valid area of concern and clinicians should consider interventions for those must susceptible to this type of behavior, especially since this group was shown to have a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms. “Pediatricians and parents continue to report overuse of the Internet in their patients and children, respectively,” said Dr. Christakis. “Given the Internet is woven into the fabric of the lives of this generation of children, concerns about the potential for addiction are warranted and today’s college students are clearly at risk, given the considerable exposure that they have to the Internet.”
In the second study, led by Dr. Michelle M. Garrison, Ph.D., also of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, use of media, including video games, internet and television, was assessed to determine its impact on the sleep patterns of pre-school aged children. Garrison and her team evaluated over 600 children and determined that exposure to violent content, usually from young children’s television programming, had a significant negative impact on sleep patterns, causing nightmares, nighttime waking, decreased alertness and difficulty falling asleep. She says, “Early childhood sleep disruption has been associated with obesity, behavior problems, and poor school performance. We advise parents to choose non-violent media content, and to avoid media screentime entirely during the hour before bed. Removing televisions and other media devices from the child’s bedroom can be an important first step. “
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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