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Introduction

This two-wave prospective study investigated the bidirectional relation between Internet-specific parenting (reactive restrictions, Internet-specific rules, and frequency and quality of communication about Internet) and adolescents’ symptoms of social media disorder (SMD) and Internet gaming disorder (IGD). In addition, we investigated whether this relation was different for boys and girls.

Methods

A sample of 352 adolescents (48.9% boys, M age = 13.9, SD age = 0.74, range: 11–15) completed questionnaires at two waves. Zero-inflated cross-lagged analyses in Mplus were performed to predict the level of IGD and SMD symptoms by Internet-specific parenting practices and vice versa, while controlling for age, level of education, and outcome at T1.

Results

More frequent parent–adolescent communication about Internet predicted more IGD (β = 0.26, p = .03) and SMD symptoms among boys, and more restrictive rules predicted fewer SMD symptoms among girls (β = −0.23, p = .08). More IGD symptoms predicted more reactive rules (β = 0.20, p = .08) among boys and girls and a higher frequency (β = 0.16, p = .02) and lower quality of communication (β = −0.24, p < .001) among boys and girls, respectively.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates bidirectional relations between Internet-specific parenting and IGD symptoms, but not SMD symptoms. Displaying IGD symptoms seems to elicit ineffective parental responses, which may further exacerbate problematic involvement in gaming. With respect to problematic social use media among girls, this study suggests that parents should set strict rules regarding Internet use, prior to problematic use of social media. Longitudinal studies on the role of parenting in development of Internet-related disorders would be promising in enhancing our understanding of how parents can effectively prevent problematic involvement in online behaviors among their children.

Open access

From greenwashing to screenwashing?

How the tech industry plays around with children's future

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Ina Maria Koning
,
Regina J.J.M. van den Eijnden
, and
Helen G.M. Vossen

Abstract

In this viewpoint, we introduce the term ‘screenwashing’, which describes the phenomenon whereby social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, pretend to be more socially responsible than they actually are. That is, social media platforms pretend to be thoughtful about children's health and the prevention of problematic social media use, but this often turns out to be nothing more than “a lick of paint”. We describe how features like the one-hour notification on TikTok and Instagram are considered screenwashing and why we believe so. Screenwashing, an unethical practice, has the potential to mislead parents and young users. Consequently, we advocate for increased government intervention to protect our youth from the potential hazards associated with problematic social media use.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Damian van der Neut
,
Margot Peeters
,
Meyran Boniel-Nissim
,
Helena Jeriček Klanšček
,
Leila Oja
, and
Regina van den Eijnden

Abstract

Background and aims. The popularity of playing games among adolescents has increased during the last decades, possibly affecting the prevalence of problematic gaming behavior. The current study aimed to compare country-level prevalence rates of adolescents' problematic gaming behavior in five countries and identify cross-cultural similarities and differences in the relationship between problematic gaming and well-being (life satisfaction, psychological complaints, and peer support). Methods. Cross-national data from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study were used. The sample comprised 14,398 gamers (61% boys) aged 11 to 16 (average age between 13.31 and 13.85) from Azerbaijan, England, Serbia, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. Results. The findings showed that the prevalence of problematic gaming differs between countries. The highest prevalence of problematic gaming was seen in Azerbaijan (16.1%) and the lowest in the Netherlands (4.3%). In contrast, Azerbaijan reported the lowest gaming intensity, whereas the Netherlands and England showed the highest gaming intensity. Additional analyses revealed that problematic gaming was associated with lower life satisfaction, more psychological complaints, and lower peer support in all countries, although the strength of these associations varied between countries. Discussion and conclusions. The current study's results are consistent with the assumption that problematic gaming negatively affects adolescents' social and mental well-being. These findings are further discussed in light of the normalization theory which suggests that cultural gaming norms (i.e., the percentage of gamers per country) would influence the strength of the relationship between problematic gaming and adolescents' well-being. The present findings highlight the need for adequate prevention strategies aiming at problematic gaming among youngsters.

Open access