New research will look for risk indicators of harmful internet use among adolescents

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Dr. Josep Manuel Menchon, group leader at IDIBELL and head of the Psychiatry Service at Bellvitge University Hospital, participates in a pioneering study led by the University of Hertfordshire to address and reduce the risks of harmful Internet use among adolescents.

The Bootstrap (Boosting Societal Adaptation and Mental Health in Rapidly Digitalizing, Post-Pandemic Europe) project is a new Europe-wide study that will monitor how young people use the Internet, to understand which behaviors cause harm and determine how they could be addressed.

Selected by Horizon Europe for a €7.5 million grant, the project is the first large-scale standardized analysis of the internet impact on young people with such a wide and diverse range of participants. The results will be used to draft policy recommendations to address problematic internet.

Conducted using a specially created phone app, the researchers, led by Naomi Fineberg, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Hertfordshire and the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, will monitor how thousands of adolescent volunteers from a wide range of locations, cultures, socioeconomic origins, and European educational systems use the internet on a day-to-day basis. The app will record factors such as time, content viewed, and interactions, so researchers can decipher behavior patterns and identify how they may lead to harm or health problems.

Participants will also be provided with information on healthier ways to use the Internet, to determine how behavioral changes can reduce risks and prevent future conditions associated with problematic Internet use.


Text adaptat de la Universitat d’Hertfordshire:



The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).

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