EXIF - Excessive Internet use within families
Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kammerl - project leadership
Dipl. Päd. Lena Hirschhäuser - research fellow
Dipl. Soz. Moritz Rosenkranz - research fellow
Dipl. Päd. Christiane Schwinge - research fellow
Dipl. Päd. Sandra Hein - research fellow
Dr. phil. Dipl. Psych. Lutz Wartberg - research fellow
Dr. phil. Dipl. Psych. Kay Uwe Petersen - research fellow
The EXIF project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).
In some families, excessive media use of adolescents leads to recurrent quarrels and conflicts. These conflicts are usually a burden for all family members.
Parents are worried because their children seem to disappear into digital worlds for hours and are not approachable any more. The adolescents neglect school matters, social contacts, and formerly beloved leisure activities.
Such a focus on computer and Internet use gives reason to fear developmental risks. In this context, addictive or almost addictive behavior patterns are often referred to.
Following the diagnosis of addictions (based on ICD-10 or DSM-IV-TR criteria), excessive media use is currently mostly investigated from a clinical perspective.
Requests of parents or teachers in counseling centers and support facilities point in another direction, however: In these cases, excessive computer or Internet use becomes a manifest familial problem which needs advice and support. A majority of these cases are of non-clinical nature and indicate media educational challenges.
For this reason, the EXIF project aims at investigating relationships between excessive computer or Internet use and familial interactions.
Family structures exert both positive and negative influences on the media use of adolescents. Therefore, these structures may be the reason for extreme behavior patterns such as excessive computer and Internet use.
On the other hand, families also have a high potential to regulate individual and interpersonal problem situations.
This suggests the following research questions:
- What kind of familial situations enforce excessive media use?
- How can potentials be activated to regulate the problem and to find a solution for this difficult situation?
The EXIF project consists of three research modules in which qualitative and quantitative methods were triangulated.
- Experts (working in treatment or consulting facilities with affected adolescents and their parents) were interviewed.
- Problem perceptions of parents and adolescents were assessed in group discussions.
- Standardized questionnaires (which included the findings of the two other modules) were developed. These questionnaires were applied in a nationwide survey with a representative sample of 1744 adolescents and one of their parents.
The results of the surveys were used to generate knowledge for affected families and professionals.
Results of the study
Since December 2012 a book about the EXIF project is available:
EXIF – Exzessive Internetnutzung in Familien.
Zusammenhänge zwischen der exzessiven Computer- und Internetnutzung Jugendlicher und dem (medien)erzieherischen Handeln in den Familien
Kammerl, Rudolf; Hirschäuser, Lena; Rosenkranz, Moritz; Schwinge, Christiane; Hein, Sandra; Wartberg, Lutz; Petersen, Kay-Uwe (Hrsg.)
Publications in English language on excessive Internet use
Wartberg, Lutz/Kriston, Levente/Kammerl, Rudolf/Petersen, Kay-Uwe/Thomasius, Rainer (2015): Prevalence of pathological internet use in a representative German sample of adolescents: Results of a latent profile analysis. In: Psychopathology, H. 1, Jg. 48, S. 25-30.
Wartberg, Lutz/Kammerl, Rudolf/Bröning, Sonja et al. (2014): Gender-related consequences of Internet use perceived by parents in a representative quota sample of adolescents. In: Behaviour & Information Technology.
Wartberg, Lutz/Petersen, Kai Uwe/Kammerl, Rudolf et al. (2014): Psychometric Validation of a German Version of the Compulsive Internet Use Scale. In: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, H. 2, Jg. 17, S. 99-103.
Wartberg, Lutz/Kammerl, Rudolf/Rosenkranz, Moritz et al. (2014): The Interdependence of Family Functioning and Problematic Internet Use in a Representative Quota Sample of Adolescents. In: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, H. 1, Jg. 17, S. 14-18.