Study Suggests Internet Addiction Leads to Aggression in Teens

Study Suggests Internet Addiction Leads to Aggression in Teens

Internet addiction can consume a considerable amount of a person’s time. Like drug and alcohol addictions, it can also create problems within the individual’s life. For teens dealing with an Internet addiction, even bigger problems have been identified.

Science Daily recently released a report of new findings from Taiwanese researchers which suggests Internet-addicted teens are more prone to aggression than other adolescents. By contrast, American researchers who study violence are not yet ready to make any conclusions about a possible link.

Amidst controversy between the two sets of researchers, the Taiwanese camp suggests parents and educators should pay more attention to children’s online habits. This is not bad advice, although the motive is causing a stir among American researchers.

The study “does not demonstrate that one behavior caused the other,” said Dewey Cornell, a professor of education at the University of Virginia, in Science Daily.. Even so, other research shows “that persons who play violent video games will be more prone to have aggressive thoughts, feelings and actions.”

Internet addiction was first described more than a decade ago, yet still causes controversy as not all mental health specialists will recognize its existence. In the Taiwanese study, researchers led by Chih-Hung Ko, M.D., from Kaohsiung Medical University, found 25 percent of the male students and 13 percent of females to be Internet addicts based on a commonly used scale.

Of those students who reported engaging in aggressive behavior – such as threatening or hurting others – 13 percent were female students and 32 percent were male students. By comparison, 37 percent of those suffering from Internet addiction engaged in aggressive behavior.

Brad Bushman, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, argues that the study does not allow conclusions about which came first — Internet addiction or aggression. “It could be that using the Internet causes people to behave more aggressively or it could be that aggressive people seek out the Internet,” he said. “Or some other third factor could cause both — people with poor social skills don’t have any friends, so they spend a lot of time on the Internet and can’t resolve conflicts in non-aggressive ways.”

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