School-based prevention for adolescent internet addiction: Prevention is the key

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Mrs Melina Throuvala

Melina Throuvala is a certified psychologist with clinical experience, and a communications specialist with a 20 year-long work expertise in corporate communications and social responsibility. She is currently a doctoral researcher at Nottingham Trent University, under the supervision of Dr Daria Kuss, Professor Mark Griffiths and Dr Mike Rennoldson. Her scientific interests are behavioural addictions, with prevention of internet addiction for adolescents, and problematic gaming and social media being the focus of her current work.

Adolescents' media use represents a normative need for information, communication, recreation and functionality, yet problematic internet use, gaming and social media use has increased. Given the arguable alarming prevalence rates worldwide and the increasingly problematic use of gaming and social media, the need for an integration of prevention efforts appears to be timely.

Aims & Methods:

The aim of this systematic literature review is (i) to identify school based prevention programmes or protocols for Internet Addiction (IA) targeting adolescents within the school context and to examine the programmes’ effectiveness, and (ii) to highlight strengths, limitations, and best practices to inform the design of new initiatives, by capitalizing on these studies' recommendations.

Results:

The findings of the reviewed studies to date presented mixed outcomes and are in need of further empirical evidence. The current review identified the following needs to be addressed in future designs: i) to decipher the clinical status of Internet Addiction, ii) to use more current - based on latest scientific developments -assessment tools for the measurement of effectiveness, iii) to reconsider the main outcome of Internet time reduction as it appears to be problematic iv) to build methodologically robust evidence-based prevention programmes v) to focus on skill enhancement and the use of IA protective and harm-reducing factors and vi) to include IA as one of the risk behaviours in multi-risk behaviour interventions. Conclusion: The above appear to be crucial factors in addressing future research designs and the formulation of new prevention initiatives. Validated findings could then inform promising strategies for IA prevention in public policy and education.

Co-Authors

Dr. Mark D. Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction, Director, International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, UK Dr. Mike Rennoldson, Lecturer in Psychology, Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, UK Dr. Daria J. Kuss, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest


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