Excessive internet use (EIU) has been studied predominantly within the context of individual risk factors. Less attention has been paid to social factors, especially in a fashion complex enough to include the multiple domains of adolescent socialization. This study examined the relationship between EIU and constraints within family, school, peer groups, and neighbourhoods, while controlling for emotional and behavioural difficulties.
This study was based on survey data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, which was conducted in Slovakia in 2018. The sample of representative adolescents totalled 8400 (mean age: 13.44 years; SDage = 1.33; 50.9% boys).
Multiple-step linear regression revealed that, after controlling for sociodemographic factors and emotional and behavioural difficulties, peer problems had the least effect, while the constraints related to family and neighbourhood stood out as especially problematic. Combined variables explained 20% variance of EIU.
Social constraints proved to be important factors in adolescent EIU. The important role of a problematic neighbourhood is a novel finding and suggests that it should be targeted in prevention.