A qualitative study of the perceived relationship between media use and adolescents' academic performance and aggressive behavior
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This study explored media usage among adolescents and its relations to academic performance and aggressive behavior from a qualitative research perspective. This study represents the first of its kind by utilizing a phenomenological methodology to gain insights about lived experiences of adolescents’ media use relative to their academic performance and aggressive behavior, from a multi-dimensional vantage point: focus group, face-to-face interview, and time-use diary. Participants were 19 adolescents (Mean age = 13.2, SD = 4.13) from a Boys & Girls Club located in North Central Texas. Outcomes indicated that there was no relationship between media use and academic performance. Media usage was perceived as a recreational activity consumed only during leisure time, and did not displace the time for homework or other educational activities. The relationship between violent video game play and aggressive behavior was weak. Playing violent video games served as an outlet for expressions of anger and frustration, and for relaxation. In addition, adolescents’ video game play was perceived as a buffer to commit aggressive and violent acts toward another person. Parental monitoring played a critical role in mitigating negative associations between media use and academic performance. Media use was gender-oriented, wherein boys spent more time playing video games than girls, and girls spent more time in cell phone use (both texting and talking) than boys, and cell phones were used as a means to connect with friends and family members.