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Health implications of new age technologies for adolescents: a review of the research

Bailin, Alexandraa; Milanaik, Ruthb; Adesman, Andrewb

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000140
OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review Within the past 20 years, there have been profound advances in personal technology. Although adolescents have embraced the Internet, video games and smart phones, with their extraordinary potential for education, entertainment and connecting with peers, respectively, there is a ‘dark side’ to these new age technologies. This article identifies many of the adverse physical, psychological, developmental and emotional consequences of our new age technologies.

Recent findings As Internet access has become easier, faster and more ubiquitous, there is increased evidence of its potential for direct and indirect harm to teens. Sexually explicit material is now indiscriminately available to youth, and studies have linked pornography with a number of negative health effects. Internet addiction is a problem even among teenagers who do not view pornography online. The rise of the Internet and social media sites now makes it easier for a student to bully a peer, and adolescents represent the majority of cyberbullying victims These technologies not only carry increased morbidity but also mortality, with increased suicides due to cyberbullying and motor vehicle deaths due to texting while driving.

Summary Paediatricians play a critical role in educating adolescents and their parents about the risks associated with new age technologies.

aMcLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

bDevelopmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical, Center of New York, New Hyde Park, New York, USA

Correspondence to Andrew Adesman, MD, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of NY, 1983 Marcus Avenue, Suite 130, Lake Success, NY, 11042, USA. Tel: +1 516 812 6100; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins