Are young people using electronic media as a way of coping with stress?


Children and adolescents spend an average of 7 h a day using electronic media which include television, radio, cellphones, computers, and handheld devices (1); it would be naïve to think that time spent on these devices has no effects (2). Indeed, it is clear that media has an effect on all of us, especially, youth who have grown up in a world surrounded by electronic devices (3–5). Decades of study on media use indicate a profound effect on the lives, health, and well being of youth (1). In particular, findings from a large number of studies, though often subject to controversy, link media use to psychosocial (6, 7), behavioral, and health problems (8–10) in children and youth. Potential positive effects of media use have been less studied. Media entertains, teaches, is a tool for communication, and may also be used as a means to cope with stress. We propose a need for the development of a novel assessment scale that will facilitate studies of the role of electronic media as a youth coping strategy.