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Awarded Cooperative Agreement to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Mental Health Effects of Internet-Mediated Violence

FOA Number: CE04-060 - Coop. Agreement For Research On The Association Between Exposure To Media Violence And Youth Viol.
Project Period: 9/30/04-9/29/07
Application/Grant Number: 1-U49-CE000206-01
Principal Investigator: Michele Lynn Ybarra, PhD
Internet Solutions for Kids, Inc.
74 Ashford Rd.
Irvine, CA 92619
Phone: 949-278-0889
Fax: 949-250-0690
E-mail: Michele@isolutions4kids.org

Description

Much research on television violence has been conducted; much less attention, however, has focused on newer media—specifically, the Internet. It is likely that Internet exposures have a greater effect on aggressive and violent behavior of young people than other media exposure because of the heightened interactivity, realistic graphics, and other visual stimulation. Because the Internet is an emerging technology to which youth have significant access, this study has important implications for public health policy and practice.

It is proposed that 1,400 households be surveyed nationwide, including one caregiver and one child, age 10 to 15, who uses the Internet. The caregiver and child will be contacted by telephone and interviewed through the Internet, with two follow-up interviews. Data will be collected three times over a two-year period. Participants will be identified via random digit dialing (RDD) and then directed to an Internet site to respond to the survey. This method combines the strengths of telephone and Web-based surveys to produce results that maximize representativeness while minimizing response bias. The relationship between exposure to violent new media and aggressive behavior will be monitored for two years after the baseline interview.

The investigators hypothesize that children age 10 to 15 who use violent media, including websites and video/computer games, will manifest more violent and aggressive behaviors over time than children of the same ages who do not use violent media. In addition, it is hypothesized that individual factors (i.e., sex and trait-aggression) and contextual factors (i.e., witnessing violence) will be important components in understanding the association between violent media and violent behavior.

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