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J Res Adolesc. 2012 Jun 1;22(2):215-224. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Electronic Play, Study, Communication, and Adolescent Achievement, 2003 to 2008.

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1
Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, hofferth@umd.edu.

Abstract

Adolescents' time spent messaging, exploring websites, and studying on the computer increased between 2003 and 2008. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement, this study examines how such changes have influenced individual achievement and behavior from childhood to adolescence. Greater communications and Internet web time proved detrimental to vocabulary and reading whereas the increased use of computer games was associated with increased reading and problem-solving scores, particularly for girls and minority children. Increased use of the computer for studying was associated with increased test scores for girls but not boys. The consequences are more benign than many feared. Groups that have traditionally used the computer less (girls, minority children) appear to benefit from greater use.

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