The research is a joint effort by KFU, RUDN University, Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, and Irkutsk State University.
A poll was conducted among adolescents and young people aged 14-19 which covered secondary schools and tertiary education institutions.
Associate Professor Regina Sakhieva, one of the co-authors of the research, explained, "We can detect adolescents' dependence on social networks, where everyone can feel interesting and needed. Many people become addicted to communication in social networks and replacing real-life relationships with virtual ones. Even you are aware of your addiction, it's not always easy to get rid of it."
The authors found out that the majority of those questioned have predispositions for Internet addiction. This includes weak control over time spent online, over their own activity timelines and priority setting. However, they still can limit their online activities in favor of face-to-face communication with friends and other daily activities, such as studies.
A program of addiction prevention was proposed as a result of questionnaire analysis. The program is aimed at promoting social experience, self-regulation and self-management in the information space, critical thinking with regards to content consumption. The program was tested and proved to be effective.
"We see a solution in prevention measures implemented by all the participants of educational relations. That's why the researchers proposed psychological and pedagogical guidance of prevention policies, including organizational efforts for prevention, special courses for teachers and psychologists, and new forms and methods of prevention work," concluded Dr. Sakhieva.
The program is divided into three parts – motivational and cognitive measures, practice-oriented measures, and reflexive training, and a systemic plan of its implementation for the audience of 14 to 19-year-olds.