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University Of Gibraltar - Mental Health Awareness Week - Horizon Europe BootStRaP Project

Below follows a statement from the University of Gibraltar regarding the Horizon Europe BootStRaP project:

A new, ground-breaking study using smart technology to boost mental health and combat the growing burden of problematic use of the internet has started.

The BootStRaP project (Boosting Societal Adaptation and Mental Health in a Rapidly Digitalizing Post-Pandemic Europe), running across 14 countries, uses Smart technology to address the risks of problematic internet use by young people. 

The project scientists are eager to assist parents, guardians, teachers, and healthcare professionals in identifying risks and understanding how they may lead to harm or poor health. 

“The main goal of the project is to reduce the harmful effects of digitalization on young people’s mental health. “, says project leader Professor Naomi A. Fineberg.  “The online daily habits of young people will be investigated using a mobile application (app)”.

Young people will be directly involved in the co-creation of the app and in the research process of this study. 

FACTS:

  • An estimated 10% to 17% of the global population is affected by problematic use of the internet.
  • A range of online behaviours such as gaming, gambling, buying, pornography viewing, social networking, ‘cyber-bullying,’ and ‘cyberchondria’ are known to cause problems for individuals and their families owing to loss of control over online activity.
  • The World Health Organization recognizes online gambling, gaming and compulsive sexual behaviour as official mental health disorders. 

"We recruit several thousands of teenagers via schools across Europe to explore how they use the internet and how this relates to their wellbeing. We then formulate guidelines for healthier internet use (at www.internetandme.eu) and determine how behavioral changes can reduce risks and prevent problematic usage of the internet developing”, says Professor Dr. Jose M. Menchon, a researcher leading the Societal and Policy Change working group in the project. “We aim to deliver global policy recommendations to address problematic use of the internet based on robust scientific evidence“.

BootStRaP is funded by the Horizon Europe program, UK Research and Innovation program and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation.

The project is implemented with the collaboration of researchers from the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming at the University of Gibraltar, including Prof Zsolt Demetrovics and Dr Andrea Czakó. “Collaboration in this European project that involves researchers and young people from many countries will provide an excellent opportunity to work towards finding ways to reduce screen time and to create a healthier way of internet use among young people,” says Professor Zsolt Demetrovics “Results will have a direct applicability in all participating countries.”