The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a prevention intervention on French adolescents’ Internet and video games use and on their beliefs concerning gaming and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD), in order to adjust prevention programs further.
The study comprised a prevention intervention group (PIG) and a control group assessed at three times – baseline, post-test, and 4-month follow-up. At baseline, a total of 434 junior high adolescents from five secondary schools were assessed ( M age = 13.2 years; SD = 0.5). The main outcome measures were adolescents’ gaming and Internet use (amount of time spent during the week and the weekend), the number of adolescents with IGD, and beliefs about gaming and IGD.
The results showed significant effects of the prevention intervention on Internet and gaming use (at T2, time spent was significantly lower in the PIG), an important increase of IGD prevalence between baseline and follow-up in the control group, and decreased rates of IGD among adolescents in the PIG between post-intervention and follow-up. Between baseline and follow-up, the control group showed a more significant increase of minutes per day during the week and the weekend on Internet versus during the week on video games. The impact of the prevention intervention on adolescents’ beliefs varied according to gender. Girls had a better understanding generally of the potential dangers of and reasons for IGD.