Study Suggests Teen Internet Addiction Leads to Drug Use


Lately, it seems as if everything has to be turned into a diagnosis and a treatment. Trouble sleeping? You probably have restless leg syndrome. Bored at work? You probably have ADHD. Check your Facebook a bit too often? You probably have an internet addiction. And while we won’t deny a mild case of internet dependency, it seems a mite overboard that a study conducted on more than 3,500 Connecticut high schoolers found that “problematic internet use” could lead to future issues with drugs and aggression.

Timothy Yiu, who led the Yale study, discovered that one in every 25 teens tested admitted an “irresistible urge” to be on the Internet.

The teens were asked about whether they had a strong inclination to be on the Internet, whether they had anxiety that could only be relieved online, and if they had ever missed important social activities because they were too busy being online. Out of the 3,560 students studied, approximately 4% met the criteria Yiu had set for “problematic internet use.”

They began to discuss a possible link between Internet addiction and otherwise addictive behaviors: drug and alcohol use as well as agression.

“It may be associated with depression, substance use, and aggressive behaviors. High school boys, though, may have heavier Internet use and may be less self-aware of the related problems,” Yiu as well as his fellow colleagues suggested in The Journal of Clinical Psychology.

It could be that teenagers are more naive/ignorant and therefore more susceptible to outside influences, whether that be on the internet or elsewhere. And we suppose that the more you know about drugs, the more likely you are to try them (keep your kids off Erowid!). But at the end of the day, Yiu and his team were unable to prove the link between the two. To be fair, you probably shouldn’t let your teenagers sit in front of the computer all day anyway.