Academic journal article General Psychiatry

Cross-Sectional Study of Use of Electronic Media by Secondary School Students in Bangkok, Thailand

Academic journal article General Psychiatry

Cross-Sectional Study of Use of Electronic Media by Secondary School Students in Bangkok, Thailand

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Several authors have expressed concerns about the increasing use of cell phones, internet games, and various types of social media by adolescents. [1,2] The concern is focused both on the inordinate amount of time using these media (which detracts from other developmentally important activities) and on the often sexual and violent content they are exposed to on these media. Excessive use of these media has been associated with increased aggressiveness, early sexual activity, and the use of tobacco and alcohol. [3,4] Other studies report an association with obesity and eating disorders. [5-8] Studies about the relationship between media use and cognitive development and academic achievement have not be conclusive. [9-14]

There have been some studies about media use among adolescents in Thailand, but most of these studies had substantial methodological flaws (e.g., asking parents about their children's media use, limiting the questionnaire to one or two types of media, etc.) that raise serious questions about the validity of the reported results. This study tries to address these limitations by selecting a representative sample of adolescent school children in Bangkok and administering a survey that covers the full range of media (cell phone, television, video games, listening to music, social networking media, etc.) and that asks respondents both about the duration of use and about the type of content used.

2. Methods

2.1 Sample and setting

The sampling procedure is shown in Figure 1. A stratified random sample of four schools were identified from the 385 middle/high schools and 20 vocational schools in the Bangkok Municipality and then at each selected school one class from each grade (grades 7 to 12) was selected and the students in those classes (11 to 19 years of age) were given the survey questionnaire to complete at home and return within 24 hours. Both the student and a parent signed the informed consent form for the survey. The survey was conducted between September and December 2011.

2.2 Questionnaire

The questionnaire used in this study was translated and modified from the 'Generation M2--Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds' questionnaire, which has been used widely in the United States. (The original questionnaire is available in Appendix C of the document available at: http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8010.pdf.) We received permission from the Kaiser Family Foundation to translate and use the questionnaire in Thailand.

In the survey respondents are asked about the frequency and duration of use of different types of electronic media over the previous day. Frequency of use is categorized as: 'never', 'a little of the time', 'some of the time' and 'most of the time'. Duration of use is categorized 'none', '5-30 min', '30-60 min', '1-3 h' and 'more than 3 h'. The responses were kept anonymous so it was not possible to identify the results for individual students.

Respondents were also asked about the number of electronic media in the household, including televisions, VCD/DVD players, radios, computers, and game consoles. The responses were classified as '1', '2', '3', and 'more than 3'. A separate set of questions asked about the availability of portable devices including mobile phones, CD players, MP3 players, laptops, tablets, internet connectable devices, and handheld game consoles. Finally respondents indicated which devices were available in their bedrooms.

Questions about use of phones covered the time spent talking on landlines and mobile phones, and the frequency of using mobile phones for text messaging, taking photos, recording videos, listening to music, connecting to the internet, playing games, watching television, watching movies, and using social networking services. Television use was specified by time period ('07:00 to 12:00' '12:00 to 18:00' and 'after 18:00') and by type of media (standard television, mobile phone, MP3 player, internet, computer, and VCD/DVD player). …

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