In research disparities resulting from gaming activities by levels of internet use and gender, I discovered a study conducted published on the CDC, whereby researchers investigated differences by sex in association between video gaming or other nonacademic computer use and resulting depressive symptoms, suicidal behavior, and being bullied among adolescents in the US. To conduct the study, researchers used data from a 2015 study of 15,624 students where students were asked whether, during the past 12 months, they had felt sad, been bullied, or exhibited suicidal behavior. They also asked how many hours on average they spent playing games or doing non academic work. The study’s data was also adjusted to minimize nonresponse and other biases.
Researchers found about 1 in 5 adolescents spent more than 5 hours a day doing non-academic computer use per day on average. Another interesting statistic was females had a higher percentage of people who spent either 0 hours or more than 5 hours on nonacademic use. The results also showed that depressive symptoms, bullying, and suicidal behavior were more prevalent in females than males. About ⅓ of all adolescents in the study had depressive symptoms, ⅕ had considered suicide, and ¼ had been bullied at school with females nearly twice as likely to have these symptoms than males. When graphing the relationship between hours used and percentage of symptoms, the graph appears to be a U or J-shaped curve where the percentages are roughly the same between 0-4 hours, but spike up for all 3 symptoms, at more than 5 hours as shown in the graph noted above.
These results are not new as previous Korean and Swiss studies of adolescents, both determined that more than 2 hours of high internet usage is unhealthy for adolescents and found similar results when comparing respective hours and symptom percentages. When assessing the wide-scale use of the study, it is essential to note this study cannot be used to determine any cause-effect relationship due to data used. Another important note is video games and nonacademic use was compiled as one variable between genders, an issue because a significantly higher percentage of males than females spent more time playing video games while females spent more time on social media. Although these issues have arisen, the data still gives some evidence that more than 5 hours causes a significant increase in depressive symptoms, suicidal behavior, and being bullied with a higher likelihood of females experiencing these problems than males.
CDC, “Differences by Sex in Association in Association of Mental Health With Video Gaming or Other Nonacademic Computer Use Among US Adolescents” by Hogan H. Lee, Jung Hye Sung, Ji-Young Lee, and Jae Eun Lee.
Lee HH, Sung JH, Lee J, Lee JE. Differences by Sex in Association of Mental Health With Video Gaming or Other Nonacademic Computer Use Among US Adolescents. Prev Chronic Dis 2017; 14:170151. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd14.170151.
Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Figure. Prevalence of depressive symptoms, suicidal behavior, and being bullied in relation to time spent on video gaming or other nonacademic computer use among male and female adolescents, 2015.