Beware of Excessive Computer Use by Your Chrildren

Over the past year I have been conducting statistical analysis on many different items that are related to the health of youth. One area of interest to me has been whether excessive internet use might be associated with the mental health of young people.

I obtained a database from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey of Idaho, 2009. In that questionnaire there were several different items that interested me such as how much high school students use the internet for three hours or more on school days for activities other than school use. We found that when students use the internet in such excessive amounts they are 1.5 times more likely to feel sad or hopeless, 1.6 times more likely to consider suicide, 1.8 times more likely to attempt suicide, twice as likely to purposefully hurt themselves by cutting or otherwise injuring themselves, and half as likely to talk to a parent or teacher when they are feeling low or having problem.

Further analysis by gender revealed that these relationships between excessive computer use and mental health issue was much greater for young girls as compared to boys. This information has not yet been published in the professional literature. I am working on doing that.

Please monitor the computer use of your children. Excessive use has very serious mental health implications.