|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 100-104
Effect of electronic media on adolescents' psychosocial health
Shailja Anand1, Jyoti Khandekar1, Sanjeev Kumar Rasania1, Dinesh Kataria2
1 Department of Community Medicine, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||16-Dec-2021|
|Date of Decision||07-Feb-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||19-Feb-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||13-Jan-2023|
Dr. Shailja Anand
G-404, Amrapali Princely Estate, Sector - 76, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Noida - 201 301, Uttar Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: In the last decade, electronic media usage in world and India has seen dramatic increase. Electronic media is demonstrating potentially profound effects, especially on children and adolescents, like a double-edged sword. Electronic media is the media that uses electronics or electromechanical means for the audience to access the content. Many studies documenting relationship of electronic media on adolescents' physical and psychosocial health have been carried out in developed countries, in contrast; very few studies have been carried out in India. Therefore, this study was planned with the objective of finding out the extent and pattern of electronic media usage and its effect on psychosocial health of adolescents. Aims: The aim of the study is to assess the prevalence of electronic media usage among adolescents and to study the relationship of electronic media usage with psychosocial health of adolescents (10–17 years). Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive, community-based, cross-sectional study conducted in Mehrauli area of Delhi. Results: The mean age of 450 adolescents in the current study was a 13.85 ± 2.92 years, with majority (80%) belonging to nuclear families. Use of electronic media among study subjects was found to be 100%. Most of the psychosocial problems were reported more in subjects belonging to middle and late adolescent age groups. Aggression (42.89%), irritability (42.44%), and change in sleep pattern (39.33%) were commonly prevalent psychosocial problems among study subjects. Nearly 23% of adolescents reported with violent behavior, 17% feeling of loneliness, 13% peer problem, 10% had emotional problem, 10% were hyperactive, nearly 8% had conduct problem, nearly 7% reported with stress, anxiety, and low prosocial behavior, and 9% scored more than average for SDQ score. Only 4% had mild to moderate depression. Conclusion: Adolescents who spent the most overall time using electronic media had more behavioral problems. Duration of gadget use in our study was higher than the recommended, which is a matter of concern as it may have a detrimental effect on physical and psychosocial health of the adolescents.
Keywords: Adolescents, electronic media, psychosocial health
|How to cite this article:|
Anand S, Khandekar J, Rasania SK, Kataria D. Effect of electronic media on adolescents' psychosocial health. J Mental Health Hum Behav 2022;27:100-4
|How to cite this URL:|
Anand S, Khandekar J, Rasania SK, Kataria D. Effect of electronic media on adolescents' psychosocial health. J Mental Health Hum Behav [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 3];27:100-4. Available from: https://www.jmhhb.org/text.asp?2022/27/2/100/367739
| Introduction|| |
Electronic media is omnipresent, and today, no one can imagine living without it, especially adolescents. Electronic media is the media that uses electronics or electromechanical means for audience to access the content. These include radio, television, film, internet, mobile or cell phones, social networking sites (SNSs), and video or online games. In the last decade, electronic media usage in the world and India has seen dramatic and exponential increase.
India is the second-largest online market with about 460 million internet users, ranked only behind China. By 2021, there will be about 635.8 million Internet users in India. TCSGenY survey has shown an increasing usage of electronic media usage across India. Two-thirds of Internet users in India are in the age group of 12–29 years, and among these, adolescents make a major chunk. It has been estimated that out of the total Internet users in India, 31% of users belong to the adolescent age group.
Use of electronic media has both merits and demerits. The advantages of early learning and tremendous exposure to innovative ideas are counterbalanced by negative health outcomes. Despite major chunk being adolescents and youth, regulations of media use for children are nonexistent in India, whereas countries such as America and Canada have separate recommendations for children and adolescent's electronic media usage. China and Korea are the countries where Internet addiction is being considered as a mental disorder with treatment guidelines for it. Many studies documenting relationship of electronic media on adolescents' physical and psychosocial health have been carried out in developed countries., In contrast, very few studies have been carried out in India. Therefore, this study was planned to find out the media usage and its effect on psychosocial health of adolescents.
Aims and objectives
- To assess the prevalence of electronic media usage among adolescents and to study the relationship of electronic media usage with psychosocial health of adolescents.
| Materials and Methods|| |
Study design and population
A descriptive community-based, cross-sectional study was conducted between November 2018 and March 2020. This period included data collection period during the calendar year 2019. The study was conducted in Mehrauli, one of the urban field practice areas of the Department of Community Medicine, Lady Hardinge Medicine College (LHMC) and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi. Mehrauli, with a population of around 1.2 lakhs, is divided into eight wards. All wards have a mixed population representing all socioeconomic strata and major religions of India, with majority being Hindu.
A sample of 450 adolescents aged 10–17 years residing for more than 6 months in Mehrauli was included in the study. Household list of all wards in Mehrauli was obtained from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Using simple random sampling method, the households were selected proportionately to the population of each ward. Households were considered as primary sampling unit and adolescents as unit of the study.
House-to-house visits were made to enlist the study subjects. The purpose of the study was explained to the adolescents and guardians. Willingness to participate in the study was obtained and those giving consent and assent were enrolled in the study. If more than one study subjects were found in the selected house, all were enrolled in the study. If the houses were locked, two more visits were made, and every effort was made to enroll the study subjects.
Data collection tools
Study tools comprised the following:
- A semi-structured questionnaire
- Strength Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ)
- Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS) brief 21-item version of DASS.
- A semi-structured questionnaire to collect the following information
- Sociodemographic profile of study subject
- Extent and pattern of electronic media use.
In the semi-structured questionnaire, socioeconomic strata of the participants were calculated separately using Modified Kuppuswamy Scale (CPI 2019) for the urban population.
The SDQ having 25 items comprised five scales of 5 items each. For each of the five scales, the score ranged from 0 to 10 if all items were completed. Itemized as well as composite results were achieved depending on the study. The categorization is shown in [Table 1].
|Table 1: Categorizing strength difficulty questionnaire scores for 4-17-year-olds|
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- DASS brief 21-item version of DASS scale-to measure the depression, anxiety, and stress in study subjects.
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 Items
The DASS used a set of three self-report scales designed to measure the emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Each of the three DASS-21 scales contained 7 items, divided into subscales with similar content. The depression scale assessed dysphoria, hopelessness, devaluation of life, self-deprecation, lack of interest/involvement, anhedonia, and inertia. The anxiety scale assessed autonomic arousal, skeletal muscle effects, situational anxiety, and subjective experience of anxious affect. The stress scale was sensitive to levels of chronic nonspecific arousal. It assessed difficulty in relaxing, nervous arousal, and being easily upset/agitated, irritable/overreactive, and impatient. Scores for depression, anxiety, and stress were calculated by summing the scores for the relevant items.
Recommended cutoff scores for conventional severity Level (normal, mild, moderate, and severe) are given in [Table 2].
|Table 2: Final cutoff scores of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21|
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Note: Scores on DASS-21 were multiplied by 2 to calculate the final score.
Information regarding sociodemographic profile, extent and pattern of electronic media (radio, television, film, internet, mobile or cell phones, SNSs, video or online games, etc.) use, psychosocial health issues such as stress, isolation, attention deficit, aggression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression, etc., was obtained from subjects using tools mentioned above.
Data were coded and entered in Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 12 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, III, USA). Quantitative data were expressed in terms of mean, median, and standard deviation.
Qualitative data were expressed as proportions and percentage. Chi-square test was applied and P < 0.05 was taken as level of significance. A cutoff of 2 h per day of media use was taken as the minimum screen time recommended, and all other per day media exposure was calculated based on this assumption.
Institutional ethical clearance was obtained before commencing the study. Informed written consent was obtained from guardians and assent from the study subjects. Utmost care was taken to maintain confidentiality, and the privacy of subjects was maintained during one-to-one interviews. All the study subjects having deranged psychosocial functioning requiring referral and treatment were counseled as well referred to the Department of Psychiatry LHMC for appropriate management.
| Results|| |
Mean age of the adolescents was 13.85 ± 2.92 years. Adolescents were almost equally distributed in the early, mid, and late adolescent age groups and across both genders. Majority (80%) of the adolescents belonged to nuclear families. Approximately 61% of the study subjects belonged to upper-middle and lower-middle socioeconomic strata and another one-third to upper-lower socioeconomic strata, with very few participants representing either upper or lower strata. More than one-third of the study subjects were educated up to middle school, and another one-third were educated up to high school. The findings are summarized in [Table 3].
Use of electronic media among the study subjects was found to be universal and equal across the genders. Most frequently used gadget was television (94.25%), closely followed by mobile phone (93.1%). Among different gadgets, mobile was used for the longest duration by all the study subjects on the basis of hours/day use as well hours/week use, followed by television. The results are shown in [Table 4].
|Table 4: Mean duration of gadgets/electronic media use in h/day and h/week|
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Mean duration of gadget use in hours per day was 3.790 ± 1.75 h/day (range 1–11 h/day). Majority of the study subjects (77.5%) used the gadgets for 2–6 h/day [Table 5]. Aggression (42.89%), irritability (42.44%), and change in sleep pattern (39.33%) were commonly prevalent psychosocial problems among the study subjects. Nearly 23% of the adolescents reported with violent behavior, 17% reported feeling of loneliness, 13% reported peer problem, 10% had emotional problem, 10% were hyperactive, nearly 8% had conduct problem, nearly 7% reported with stress, anxiety, and low prosocial behavior, 9% scored more than average for SDQ score, and only 4% had mild-to-moderate depression.
Except depression, a higher proportion (≥90%) of all the behavioural problems were reported in study subjects whose electronic media usage was more than the recommended time (≤2 hour/day) [Figure 1]. The relationship between duration of per day gadget use was found to be significantly associated with aggression, irritability, change in sleep pattern, violent behavior, loneliness, emotional problems, and hyperactivity, but no association of duration of per day gadget use was seen with stress, peer problem, emotional problem, and conduct problem [Table 6].
|Table 6: Psychosocial problems of adolescents with electronic media use in h/day|
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| Discussion|| |
Electronic media allows instant access to a unique virtual world of information, entertainment, social interaction, and marketing for all of us and especially adolescents for whom it is a heady experience to be able to create and share the content with a virtual audience. These features make digital media highly addictive to the adolescent age group. In this study, the use of digital media was universal and equal in both genders and can be attributed to urban settings with relatively better socioeconomic status and purchasing power.
With increasing popularity of electronic media, children and adolescents are exposed to digital technology, especially mobiles, at a much earlier age. As these gadgets are being used for multiple purposes such as recreation, communication, learning, and social interaction, screen time usage has increased tremendously.,, Mean duration of gadget use in hours per day in the present study was found to be 3.790 ± 1.75 h/day with a range of 1–11 h/day. The duration was considerably higher than the recommended limit of 2 h/day. More than one-third of the participants used one or other device with digital media for 4–6 h every day. Among different gadgets, mobile was used for the longest duration by all the study subjects on the basis of hours/day as well as hours/week use followed by television.
The use of digital media has many benefits and risks, which depend largely on age and development of the child, the extent of interaction, and the supervision of parents regarding media content to which a child is exposed.
Earlier initiation, higher cumulative exposure, and unhealthy contents contribute significantly to psychosocial problems very commonly observed in adolescents and children in recent times.,,,,,, The commonly reported psychosocial problems include attention deficit, decreased ability to comprehend, aggression, and violent behavior. Many researchers have shown that greater cumulative exposure to digital media, especially at and around bedtime, disrupts sleep and might result in a compromised daytime performance, thus affecting the academic achievements of children and adolescents. A significant relationship between electronic media usage and psychosocial problems was found among adolescents, especially in the late adolescents in this study.
| Conclusion|| |
The prevalence of electronic media use was 100% in the present study, and early initiation was seen in a sizable population. Since it may affect academic performance and cause distractibility and stress due to impact on psychosocial functioning, it can be implicated from the study that awareness must be increased in parents regarding early exposure of the child to electronic gadgets.
Adolescents who spent the most overall time using electronic media had more behavioral problems. Surge in psychosocial problems was seen with increased per week electronic media usage among study subjects; therefore, it is critical to limit the exposure, especially early age.
Duration of gadget use in our study was higher than the recommended which is a matter of concern as it may have a detrimental effect on physical and psychosocial health of the adolescents. Last but not least, the duration and content of electronic media use depend on the adolescents will power, so they have to be competent enough to decide what to see, when to see, and how long to see. Parents have a key role in the development of a child's personality.
Limitations of the study
- The study was carried out in a metropolitan city, and hence, the findings cannot be generalized to the Indian population
- The present study design was a cross-sectional study with a single contact which may not be enough to build rapport for reporting sensitive and personal issues such as visiting adult sites. Further, behavioral changes over a period of time could not be assessed
- The assessment of psychosocial problems was based primarily on self-reporting and may result in intentional under-reporting and is subject to recall bias.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]