Author(s): Machold C, Judge G, Mavrinac A, Elliott J, Murphy AM,
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Abstract Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have grown substantially, posing new hazards to teenagers. This study aimed to determine general patterns of Internet usage among Irish teenagers aged 11-16 years, and to identify potential hazards, including; bullying, inappropriate contact, overuse, addiction and invasion of users' privacy. A cross-sectional study design was employed to survey students at three Irish secondary schools, with a sample of 474 completing a questionnaire. 202 (44\%) (n = 460) accessed the Internet using a shared home computer. Two hours or less were spent online daily by 285(62\%), of whom 450 (98\%) were unsupervised. 306 (72\%) (n = 425) reported frequent usage of SNSs, 403 (95\%) of whom were Facebook users. 42 (10\%) males and 51 (12\%) females experienced bullying online, while 114 (27\%) reported inappropriate contact from others. Concerning overuse and the risk of addiction, 140 (33\%) felt they accessed SNSs too often. These patterns among Irish teenagers suggest that SNS usage poses significant dangers, which are going largely unaddressed.
This article was published in Ir Med J
and referenced in Bipolar Disorder: Open Access