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Acad Pediatr. 2009 Sep-Oct;9(5):307-14. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2009.04.003. Epub 2009 Jul 9.

Electronic media use and adolescent health and well-being: cross-sectional community study.

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  • 1Centre for Community Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia.



To describe time adolescents spend using electronic media (television, computer, video games, and telephone); and to examine associations between self-reported health/well-being and daily time spent using electronic media overall and each type of electronic media.


Design-Cross-sectional data from the third (2005) wave of the Health of Young Victorians Study, an Australian school-based population study. Outcome Measures-Global health, health-related quality of life (HRQoL; KIDSCREEN), health status (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0; PedsQL), depression/anxiety (Kessler-10), and behavior problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). Exposure Measures-Duration of electronic media use averaged over 1 to 4 days recalled with the Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adolescents (MARCA) computerized time-use diary. Analysis-Linear and logistic regression; adjusted for demographic variables and body mass index z score.


A total of 925 adolescents (mean +/- standard deviation age, 16.1+/-1.2 years) spent, on average, 3 hours 16 minutes per day using electronic media (television, 128 minutes per day; video games, 35; computers, 19; telephone, 13). High overall electronic media use was associated with poorer behavior, health status, and HRQoL. Associations with duration of specific media exposures were mixed; there was a favorable association between computer use (typing/Internet) and psychological distress, whereas high video game use was associated with poorer health status, HRQoL, global health, and depression/anxiety. Television and telephone durations were not associated with any outcome measure.


Despite television's associations with obesity, time spent in other forms of media use appear more strongly related to adolescent health and well-being. This study supports efforts to reduce high video game use and further exploration of the role of computers in health enhancement.

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