Supportive communication with parents moderates the negative effects of electronic media use on life satisfaction during adolescence

Abstract

Objectives

To examine the impact of electronic media (EM) use on teenagers’ life satisfaction (LS) and to assess the potential moderating effect of supportive communication with parents (SCP).

Methods

Data were drawn from the cross-national Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study (2009/2010) in Canada, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Israel, The Netherlands, Poland and Scotland. Sample size: 53,973 students aged 11–15 years.

Results

More hours per day spent on the computer were associated with lower LS; more EM communication with friends with higher LS. This relationship became negative if EM use reached and exceeded a certain threshold. SCP moderated the effect of EM communication with friends, but not computer use for the total sample. SCP seems to be more important than computer use or EM communication with friends for LS and it seems to buffer negative effects of EM use.

Conclusions

Communication with parents seems to buffer the negative effects of EM use on LS during adolescence. Higher computer use was related to lower LS, but “optimal” frequency of EM communication with friends was country specific.

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Correspondence to Meyran Boniel-Nissim.

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This article is part of the special issue “Communication Technology, Media Use and the Health of Our Kids”.

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Boniel-Nissim, M., Tabak, I., Mazur, J. et al. Supportive communication with parents moderates the negative effects of electronic media use on life satisfaction during adolescence. Int J Public Health 60, 189–198 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-014-0636-9

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Keywords

  • Life satisfaction
  • Adolescents
  • Computer use
  • Supportive communication with parents
  • Cross-national study