Two New Studies Address Psychological Impact of Media

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

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Donette


    July 6th, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    I think that we all know that media has a very strong impact on all of society, and for a fact I think that we all know that young people are even more heavily influenced than most of us. This is the case in almost any situation- young people are easily moldable and we know that what the emdia says goes for them. I have to remond my own children daily that just becasue they see it online or in the grocery store line does not necessarily make it true.

  • Randy


    July 6th, 2011 at 6:44 AM

    It’s interesting how just the choice of what your child watches on television is linked to so many other things that can go on to shape their life.It’s more of a surprise how most of us do not understand this,or maybe even understand but do not implement this,to our children and their habits.

    Parents need to keep reminding themselves of these things. A little ignorance and it can have a big impact on the children.

  • Gabriella R.

    Gabriella R.

    July 6th, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    When I was small we weren’t allowed to have a TV in the bedroom because my mother considered it, and would always say this with a sniff and scorn in her voice, “an electronic babysitter”. I don’t think she was far off the mark. Children today have no idea how to socialize because they don’t interact to the same degree as we did with grownups or other children in their spare time and talk.

    If you must allow your children to play such games, at least make them do it under your supervision to see what the content is like. Don’t leave them to their own devices until you’re 100% sure of its suitability and don’t allow them to do it all day and all night either.

  • dannylang


    July 6th, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    It’s possible we turn to the internet because of depression or not being social in person. I may appear outgoing online and do. Nevertheless in real life situations I barely speak and I’m always the first to leave at a party. I’m online almost all the time because I have no self-confidence when it comes to socializing face-to-face. I feel more comfortable having that physical distance.

  • kingoftheweb


    July 6th, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    @Danny Lang-The real reason many college kids and more socially introverted people are like that is this. You can say what you want on the internet and nobody can do or say a thing to you about it. I’ve said a lot of things online that would get me hanged by my parents if they knew, which is why I never say them offline. It’s a way to let off steam and also be the person you wish you were in reality.

  • linda simmons

    linda simmons

    July 6th, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    media has great power and can really have an impact on a person not only mentally but physically too,though is only imperative that tree are strict rules about what can be shown and what not and also regarding the’s very important that we protect our children from content that is not suitable for them and be very strict about this.

  • Susie


    July 7th, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    YOU…need to control what you view or what media you access…don’t let the MEDIA control you! A lot of people are so easily carried away by these things psychologically it’s no wonder that it can have effects on them to such a degree…!

  • Rae


    July 8th, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    Internet addiction? You have to be kidding me. These kids need to get a life and so do the parents who have let them grow up hooked to a tv or computer screen.

  • Jack Dawson

    Jack Dawson

    July 8th, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    @kingoftheweb: Don’t fall for that perceived anonymity myth, mate. Almost every community website has a caveat in their privacy policy or terms and conditions that they will hand over any user’s information to law enforcement if required to by the courts, including their email and ISP.

    There’s no such thing as anonymity online so don’t think you can get away with being abusive or behaving badly because you’re doing it from behind a keyboard. That’s no safeguard.

    You really need to look at why you feel the need to do that and be someone you’re not as well. Get some help, mate.

  • Isaac Mooney

    Isaac Mooney

    July 9th, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    When I think about it, I have actually never woken up from a bad dream. If I have at any point, I’m so tired I simply fall straight back to sleep and don’t think any more about it when the morning rolls around. I wouldn’t have linked nightmares to disrupted sleep at all.

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on