Long-term impacts of using ICT on children and adolescents

About the working group

One of the major questions of current research on information and communications technology (ICT) is the impact of usage of these technologies on children and adolescents. This working group focuses on the long-term impacts of such technologies - we are interested in what patterns of use affect physical, psychological, and social well-being.

Some of the issues we address in our research are as follows:

  • How do specific internet activities affect the feelings and behavior of children, for example - how does online communication affect their social skills?
  • Which parenting strategies are the most effective in protecting children against possible adverse effects of internet usage?
  • Which children tend to engage in risky online activities?
  • How does the use of technology affect physical health, such as sleep quality?

Such questions can be answered with the different research designs. To address long-term impacts, longitudinal research design, with repeated data collections on the same respondents, is one of the best.

Therefore, since 2019, we have been preparing an extensive survey of Czech households that will help us answer these questions. Because family plays an important role in children’s, we collect data from both the children and their parents. The data will be collected every six months, with the first data collection in the spring of 2021. Since there are plenty of important topics to examine, we have divided them into two parallel surveys. A different sample of adolescents and their parents will participate in each one. Both surveys will be extensive and representative of the Czech population. The research is carried out within the scope of the “FUTURE” project.

  • 2019 – 2020

    • Theoretical preparation and definition of the specific research areas
    • Preparation of questionnaires for both surveys
    • Pilot tests
  • 2021

    • Approval of the research by the MU Research Ethics Committee
    • Spring
      1st wave of data collection;
      Cross-sectional analyses of the 1st wave data;
      Modifying the questionnaires for the 2nd wave
    • Autumn
      2nd wave of data collection
  • 2022

    • Spring
      3rd wave of data collection;
      Longitudinal analysis of the data
    • Autumn
      4th wave of data collection;
      Longitudinal analysis of the data
  • 2023

    • Finishing the analyses
    • Preparation and publication of the studies
    • Sharing the results with academic and non-academic communities
Our Team

We are a team of psychologists, media scientists, and sociologists. We share an interest in information and digital technologies and studying their long-term impacts. To study this topic, we are carrying out longitudinal surveys of children, adolescents, and their parents. Each of us specializes in a specific case of this broad field of study. You can learn more about the members of our group below and in our profiles.

Lenka Dědková


WORKING GROUP LEADER

Interested in:  parental mediation, childrens' and adolescents' online interactions

Hana Macháčková

Interested in: online aggression, cyberbullying, bystanders' behaviour in cyberbullying

David Šmahel

Interested in: impacts of ICT on physical health, usage of mHealth applications

Vojtěch Mýlek

Interested in: meeting people online, online communication, face to face meetings with people from the internet

David Lacko

Interested in: effects of playing video games

Nikol Kvardová

Interested in: impacts of social networks on body image 

Adéla Lokajová

Interested in: health information on the internet, anxiety related to covid-19

Michal Tkaczyk

Interested in: impacts of ICT on physical health, sleep quality 

Why is this study needed?

Why study the impacts of ICT on children and adolescents?

Because children and adolescents use these technologies on a daily basis for many different purposes. This was the case even before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the use of ICT significantly increased during it. The transition from childhood to adolescence and adolescence itself are periods of significant bio-psycho-social development. The child is transitioning into an autonomous adult – creating a more comprehensive picture of who they are and what they want to achieve in life. They learn to build and maintain close relationships. This period is thus highly important.

The Internet has brought new ways to communicate with people, spend our free time, educate ourselves, and bring an immense amount of information and materials that are much more available than ever before. This brings up numerous questions – how does it affect the development of children and adolescents? Is the Internet helping them or harming them? Under what circumstances and which children? The research needs to aim to answer these questions to ensure the healthy development of children and adolescents and, from a long-term perspective, a healthy society.

We believe that the findings of this research will deepen not only our theoretical understanding of the impacts of ICT on adolescents but will also be valuable in other fields of research. Based on these findings, it will, for example, be possible to more adequately structure prevention programs, help schools and teachers to prevent cyberbullying, or to provide recommendations to parents.

Why longitudinal? 

The longitudinal research, in which the same people participate repeatedly, allows us to identify the causes and consequences. Research on ICT usage often utilizes cross-sectional design (collecting data at one time-point). However, the drawback of this design is its inability to learn more about causality - what was the cause and what is the consequence. For example, the media often publish articles on how playing violent videogames leads to aggressive behavior. However, suppose the given study used cross-sectional data. In that case, we cannot discern the possibility that it is the other way around and that aggressive behavior leads to playing violent videogames. To disentangle causes from consequences, we need to use different designs. This is why longitudinal research is fundamental and necessary, even though it is also more demanding–both for the researchers and the participants.

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info