183882 Frequency and implications of exposure to violent web sites on youth mental health and behavior

Monday, October 27, 2008: 3:42 PM

Michele Ybarra, MPH PhD , Internet Solutions for Kids, Inc., Santa Ana, CA
Philip J. Leaf, PhD , Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Merle Hamburger, PhD , National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Marie Diener-West , Biostatistics, ohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
As our understanding of associations between media violence and youth behavior continues to grow, there is a noticeable dearth of research about media violence consumed by young people on the Internet. We will report findings from the Growing up with Media survey, a national survey of 1,588 youth between the ages of 10 and 15 years. Children and adolescents were asked about five different exposures online: hate sites propagating discrimination of specific groups of people; death (“snuff”) sites showing dead or dying people; satanic sites; sites, including news sites, showing pictures of war, death, and terrorism; and sites showing cartoons engaged in violence. Youth also were asked about engaging in behaviors reflective of serious violence (e.g., assault with a weapon) and peer aggression (e.g., starting fights).

Results suggest about one in five youth are exposed to websites depicting war, death, and terrorism (23.8%) or cartoons engaging in violence (21.2%) in a 12-month period. Exposure to hate (2.5%), death (5.2%), and satanic sites (2.2%) are less common, reported by one in twenty youth. Exposure to violent web sites (excluding news sites showing pictures of war, death, and terrorism) was associated with significantly elevated odds of also reporting seriously violent behavior (OR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.2, 3.8; p=0.008) as well as peer aggression (physical fighting: OR = 7.7, 95% CI: 4.0, 15.0; p<0.001; physical bullying: OR = 5.8, 95% CI: 2.8, 11.8; p<0.001; relational bullying: OR = 3.2, 95% CI: 1.8, 6.0; p<0.001). Implications for youth violence prevention will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the frequency of exposure to violence online among children and adolescents. 2. Articulate the association between exposure to violence online and aggressive behaviors offline. 3. Identify implications of online exposure to violence for youth violence prevention.

Keywords: Violence, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the survey research project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.