Exploring British Adolescents’ Views and Experiences of Problematic Smartphone Use and Smartphone Etiquette
Keywords:adolescents, behavioural addiction, dependency, focus group interview, problematic technology use, qualitative research, smartphones
Smartphones are now a ubiquitous part of daily life for adolescents in the United Kingdom, who use their phones for a multitude of reasons beyond calling or texting. To date, little qualitative research has been conducted with adolescent smartphone users about their experiences of smartphone use, particularly problematic or excessive use. This study directly explored the topics of problematic use and smartphone etiquette with 13 British adolescents aged 16–18 years across three focus group discussions. An inductive thematic analysis resulted in the development of four themes related to users’ experiences: The Comfort Bubble, Digital Native Etiquette, The Extended Self, and Defining Dependency. These themes encompass the different drives underlying potentially excessive or antisocial smartphone use and how young people seek to minimize these risks by monitoring both their own and others’ smartphone use. The findings of this study demonstrate the complexity of disentangling functional and enjoyable smartphone use from problematic use in an era when smartphones are embedded so deeply in modern life. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of potential future measures of problematic smartphone use and ways of promoting education about healthy smartphone use by applying some of the strategies put forward by the young people in this study.
RésuméLes téléphones intelligents sont omniprésents dans la vie quotidienne des adolescents au Royaume-Uni. Ceux-ci les utilisent pour une foule de raisons dépassant le simple appel ou message texte. Il existe à ce jour très peu de recherches qualitatives menées auprès d’adolescents qui utilisent un téléphone intelligent au sujet de leur expérience d’utilisation, particulièrement si elle est problématique ou excessive. Cette étude se penche directement sur l’utilisation problématique et l’étiquette chez 13 adolescents britanniques âgés de 16 à 18 ans dans le cadre de trois groupes de discussion. Une analyse thématique inductive a permis de cerner quatre thèmes liés à l’expérience des utilisateurs : la bulle du confort, l’étiquette numérique naturelle, l’extension du Soi et la définition de la dépendance. Ces thèmes englobent les différents facteurs qui peuvent sous-tendre l’utilisation excessive ou antisociale des téléphones intelligents et la façon dont les jeunes cherchent à réduire ces risques en surveillant leur propre utilisation et celle d’autres personnes. Les conclusions de cette étude démontrent à quel point il est complexe de faire la distinction entre l’utilisation fonctionnelle et agréable du téléphone intelligent et son utilisation problématique à une époque où cet appareil est si profondément ancré dans la vie moderne. Les implications de ces conclusions sont abordées sur le plan des mesures futures potentielles visant l’utilisation problématique des téléphones intelligents et les façons de promouvoir la sensibilisation à l’usage sain à l’aide de certaines des stratégies suggérées par les jeunes ayant participé à cette étude.
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