We thought the dorky teens that spent all their time in their bedrooms in front of their computers were the last to get up to anything fun / dodgy – but it seems we were wrong. It may well be exactly the opposite, according to a new study.
“This research is based on social cognitive theory, which suggests that seeing people engaged in a behaviour is a way of learning that behaviour,” explains Valerie Carson, who conducted the study. “Since adolescents are exposed to considerable screen time – over 4.5 hours on average each day – they’re constantly seeing images of behaviours they can then potentially adopt.”
So the conclusion of the study was that that high computer use resulted in a 50% higher engagement in activities such as smoking, drinking and sex, unprotected and otherwise. Not to mention other activities such as not using your seatbelt, smoking weed and doing drugs. Some of this effect was also contributed to watching a lot of TV, but this wasn’t as big an influence as this medium is more censored to protect young minds. This isn’t the case with the internet.
The study was carried out in Canada by epidemiology PhD candidate Valerie Carson, considering teens between 10 and 16.