Teenagers addicted to Internet are likely to be aggressive, reveals a new Taiwanese study. However, the link stands challenged by American experts who study violence.
According to a team led by Chih-Hung Ko, MD, from Kaohsiung Medical University, playing video games and visiting sexually oriented Web sites could provoke youngsters to “observe, experience and try aggressive behaviours resulting in positive outcome, (such as) identification in a group, being a hero or winning in games.”
The Taiwanese boffins examined 9,405 adolescents and noted their Internet activity and behaviour to find that 13 per cent of all females and 32 per cent of all males confessed engaging in a hostile behaviour, including threatening or hurting others within the last year, as compared with 37 percent of those addicted to the Internet.
However, Dewey Cornell, a professor of education at the University of Virginia, said the finding “does not demonstrate that one behaviour caused the other.”
Brad Bushman, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, added the research was far from concluding which came first — Internet addiction or aggression.
He said: “It could be that using the Internet causes people to behave more aggressively or it could be that aggressive people seek out the Internet.
“Or some other third factor could cause both — people with poor social skills don’t have any friends, so they spend a lot of time on the Internet and can’t resolve conflicts in non-aggressive ways.”
The study appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.