The emerging field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has brought about new interaction styles. Its excessive use may lead to addictive behaviours. The objective is to determine the prevalence of the problematic use of ICT such as Internet, mobile phones and video games, among adolescents enrolled in mandatory Secondary Education (ESO in Spanish) and to examine associated factors.
Cross sectional, multi-centric descriptive study.
5538 students enrolled in years one to four of ESO at 28 schools in the Vallès Occidental region (Barcelona, Spain).
self-administered socio-demographic and ICT access questionnaire, and validated questionnaires on experiences related to the use of the Internet, mobile phones and video games (CERI, CERM, CERV).
Questionnaires were collected from 5,538 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 (77.3 % of the total response), 48.6 % were females. Problematic use of the Internet was observed in 13.6 % of the surveyed individuals; problematic use of mobile phones in 2.4 % and problematic use in video games in 6.2 %. Problematic Internet use was associated with female students, tobacco consumption, a background of binge drinking, the use of cannabis or other drugs, poor academic performance, poor family relationships and an intensive use of the computer. Factors associated with the problematic use of mobile phones were the consumption of other drugs and an intensive use of these devices. Frequent problems with video game use have been associated with male students, the consumption of other drugs, poor academic performance, poor family relationships and an intensive use of these games.
This study offers information on the prevalence of addictive behaviours of the Internet, mobile phones and video game use. The problematic use of these ICT devices has been related to the consumption of drugs, poor academic performance and poor family relationships. This intensive use may constitute a risk marker for ICT addiction.