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15 December 2017

Happy Youth Are Less Prone to Problematic Internet and Facebook Use

Keywords: happiness, health, internet, media, Websites, Western Europe, interactive media, social media, technology, young adults,

With high numbers of young people using the internet and social media, there are increasing concerns about possible problematic internet-related behaviors such compulsive internet use and social media addiction. However, not all young people are equally susceptible to these problematic behaviors. A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies investigates whether adolescents and young adults who are emotionally and psychologically healthy, are less likely to display compulsive internet use and social media addiction.

Take aways

  • Adolescents and young adults with a better mental health (for example, higher self-worth and better developed emotional skills), are less likely to display problematic internet-related behavior. 
  • Thus, positive emotional and psychological well-being may prevent young people from developing problematic internet-related behaviors.
  • In order to prevent problematic internet-related behavior, it is therefore important to focus on increasing young people’s mental health.

Study information

  • The question?

    Does good mental health relate to problematic internet- and social media-related behavior among adolescents and young adults?

  • Who?

    1927 Italian Facebook users (mean age: 19 years; 59% girls)

  • Where?


  • How?

    Participants answered questions about their mental health (i.e. belief-in-self, belief-in-others, emotional competence and engaged living), compulsive internet use (e.g., ‘‘Do you find yourself staying online longer than you intended?’’), and cyber-relationship addiction (e.g., ‘‘I prefer online social interaction over face-to-face communication’’).

Facts and findings

  • Adolescents and young adults who had a more positive mental health (thus, those who had a stronger belief in themselves and in others, felt more emotionally competent, and were more grateful and optimistic), were less likely to display compulsive internet use and cyber-relationship addiction.
  • Critical Note: No conclusions can be drawn about cause (positive mental health) and effect (Internet and Facebook Use). This study only shows that positive mental health is related to less problematic internet and Facebook use in young people.