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College Student Problematic Internet Use and Digital Communication Medium Used With Parents: Cross-Sectional Study.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Problematic internet use (PIU) is associated with mental health concerns such as depression and affects more than 12% of young adults. Few studies have explored potential influences of parent-college student digital communication on college students' risk of PIU. OBJECTIVE:This study sought to understand the relationship between parent-college student digital communication frequency via phone calls, text messages, and Facebook contacts and PIU among college students. METHODS:Incoming first-year students were randomly selected from registrar lists of a midwestern and northwestern university for a 5-year longitudinal study. Data from interviews conducted in summer 2014 were used. Measures included participants' daily Facebook visits, communication frequency with parents via phone call and text message, and 3 variables related to Facebook connection status and communication: (1) parent-college student Facebook friendship status, (2) college student blocking personal Facebook content from parent, and (3) Facebook communication frequency. PIU risk was assessed using the Problematic and Risky Internet Use Screening Scale. Analysis included participants who reported visiting Facebook at least once per day. Multiple linear regression was used, followed by a post hoc mediation with Hayes process macro to further investigate predictive relationships among significant variables. RESULTS:A total of 151 participants reported daily Facebook use and were included in analyses. Among these participants, 59.6% (90/151) were female, 62.3% (94/151) were from the midwestern university, and 78.8% (119/151) were white. Mean Facebook visits per day was 4.3 (SD 3.34). There was a collective significant effect between participant daily Facebook visits, college student-parent phone calls, texts, and all 3 Facebook connection variables (F6,144=2.60, P=.02, R2=.10). Phone calls, text messages, and Facebook contacts were not associated with PIU risk. However, two individual items were significant predictors for PIU: participant daily Facebook visits were positively associated with increased PIU risk (b=0.04, P=.006) and being friends with a parent on Facebook was negatively associated with PIU risk (b=-0.66, P=.008). Participant daily Facebook visits were not a significant mediator of the relationship between college student-parent Facebook friendship and PIU risk (b=-0.04; 95% CI -0.11 to 0.04). CONCLUSIONS:This study did not find support for a relationship between parent-college student digital communication frequency and PIU among college students. Instead, results suggested Facebook friendship may be a protective factor. Future studies should examine how a parent-child Facebook friendship might protect against PIU among children at varying developmental stages.

SUBMITTER: Kerr B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7206513 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.5334/pb.306

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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