Int J Public Health. 2015 Feb;60(2):179-88. doi: 10.1007/s00038-014-0633-z. Epub 2014 Dec 23.
Young people’s engagement in electronic gaming and Internet communication have caused concerns about potential harmful effects on their social relations, but the literature is inconclusive. The aim of this paper was to examine whether perceived problems with computer gaming and Internet communication are associated with young people’s social relations.
Cross-sectional questionnaire survey in 13 schools in the city of Aarhus, Denmark, in 2009. Response rate 89%, n = 2,100 students in grades 5, 7, and 9. Independent variables were perceived problems related to computer gaming and Internet use, respectively. Outcomes were measures of structural (number of days/week with friends, number of friends) and functional (confidence in others, being bullied, bullying others) dimensions of student’s social relations.
Perception of problems related to computer gaming were associated with almost all aspects of poor social relations among boys. Among girls, an association was only seen for bullying. For both boys and girls, perceived problems related to Internet use were associated with bullying only.
Although the study is cross-sectional, the findings suggest that computer gaming and Internet use may be harmful to young people’s social relations.