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Home > Addictive use of digital devices in young children: associations with delay discounting, self-control and academic performance.

Schulz van Endert, Tim (2021) Addictive use of digital devices in young children: associations with delay discounting, self-control and academic performance. PLoS ONE, 16, (6), e0253058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253058.

External website: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.13...

The use of smartphones, tablets and laptops/PCs has become ingrained in adults' and increasingly in children's lives, which has sparked a debate about the risk of addiction to digital devices. Previous research has linked specific use of digital devices (e.g. online gaming, smartphone screen time) with impulsive behavior in the context of intertemporal choice among adolescents and adults. However, not much is known about children's addictive behavior towards digital devices and its relationship to personality factors and academic performance.

This study investigated the associations between addictive use of digital devices, self-reported usage duration, delay discounting, self-control and academic success in children aged 10 to 13. Addictive use of digital devices was positively related to delay discounting, but self-control confounded the relationship between the two variables. Furthermore, self-control and self-reported usage duration but not the degree of addictive use predicted the most recent grade average. These findings indicate that children's problematic behavior towards digital devices compares to other maladaptive behaviors (e.g. substance abuse, pathological gambling) in terms of impulsive choice and point towards the key role self-control seems to play in lowering a potential risk of digital addiction.


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