CONNECT
search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu
Innocenti experts produce high quality research that is frequently published in international peer reviewed journals. The themes of publications featured here reflect the entire spectrum of issues shaping global policies and outcomes for children.

LATEST

Contextualising the link between adolescents’ use of digital technology and their mental health: a multi‐country study of time spent online and life satisfaction

ABSTRACT

Evidence on whether the amount of time children spend online affects their mental health is mixed. There may be both benefits and risks. Yet, almost all published research on this topic is from high‐income countries. This paper presents new findings across four countries of varying wealth.

We analyse data gathered through the Global Kids Online project from nationally representative samples of Internet‐using children aged 9 to 17 years in Bulgaria (n  = 1,000), Chile (n  = 1,000), Ghana (n  = 2,060) and the Philippines (n  = 1,873). Data was gathered on Internet usage on week and weekend days. Measures of absolute (comparable across countries) and relative (compared to other children within countries) time use were constructed. Mental health was measured by Cantril’s ladder (life satisfaction). The analysis also considers the relative explanatory power on variations in mental health of children’s relationships with family and friends. Analysis controlled for age, gender and family socioeconomic status.

In Bulgaria and Chile, higher‐frequency Internet use is weakly associated with lower life satisfaction. In Ghana and the Philippines, no such pattern was observed. There was no evidence that the relationship between frequency of Internet use and life satisfaction differed by gender. In all four countries, the quality of children’s close relationships showed a much stronger relationship with their life satisfaction than did time spent on the Internet.

Time spent on the Internet does not appear to be strongly linked to children’s life satisfaction, and results from one country should not be assumed to transfer to another. Improving the quality of children’s close relationships offers a more fruitful area for intervention than restricting their time online. Future research could consider a wider range of countries and links between the nature, rather than quantity, of Internet usage and mental health.

MORE

JOURNAL ARTICLES BY DATE

91 items found

Economic Transfers and Social Cohesion in a Refugee-Hosting Setting

Elsa Valli, Amber Peterman, Melissa Hidrobo
Journal of Development Studies, Supplement 1, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 128-146.

VIEW ARTICLE


Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach

Nandini Krishnan, Sergio Olivieri, Racha Ramadan
Journal of Development Studies, Supplement 1, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 91-106.

VIEW ARTICLE


How to Target Households in Adaptive Social Protection Systems? Evidence from Humanitarian and Development Approaches in Niger

Pascale Schnitzer
Journal of development Studies, Supplement 1, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 75-90.

VIEW ARTICLE


No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon

Jacobus de Hoop, Mitchell Morey, David Seidenfeld
Journal of Development Studies, Supplement 1, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 107-127.

VIEW ARTICLE


School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

Elisabetta Aurino, Jean-Pierre Tranchant, Amadou Sekou Diallo, Aulo Gelli
Journal of Development Studies, Supplement 1, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 7-28.

VIEW ARTICLE


Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement: Introduction to a Special Issue

Tilman Brück, Jose Cuesta, Jacobus de Hoop, Ugo Gentilini, Amber Peterman
The Journal of Development Studies, Supplement 1, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 1-6.

VIEW ARTICLE


Impact evaluation of a social protection programme paired with fee waivers on enrolment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

Tia Palermo, Elsa Valli, Gustavo Angeles, Marlous de Milliano, Clement Adamba, Tayllor Renee Spadafora, Clare Barrington
BMJ Open, November 2019, vol. 9 (11)

VIEW ARTICLE


Aligning evidence generation and use across health, development, and environment

Heather Tallis, Katharine Kreis, Lydia Olander, Claudia Ringler, David Ameyaw, Mark E. Borsuk, Amber Peterman, et al.
Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainability, August 2019, vol. 39, pp. 81-93.

VIEW ARTICLE


91 items found