Adolescents in a digital world: the risks and benefits of the use of digital technology

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    Digital technologies represent one of the strongest driving forces of modern society, that affect not only how people perceive the world, but also how they behave in it. The Internet and mobile phone have become tools of first choice for many people as they allow them to do various things more easily. This holds especially for adolescents. These are not only the most connected group worldwide, but also grow up surrounded by technology from an early age. However, the use of digital technology can also expose them to many challenges and negative experiences. This thesis focuses on the role that digital technology plays in adolescents’ life and also on the groups of adolescents who tend to use it in a problematic degree. We identified several ways how digital technology can be beneficial for adolescents. Examples regard it being a smart and helpful device that can support them in formal and non-formal education, social interactions, creating their alternative world, and self-development. We also found that adolescents are aware of the risks to which they can be exposed by using the digital technology, such as dependence on its functionality, problematic control, cause of several health problems and vulnerability in the virtual space. Our thesis further describes various individual and social aspects being associated with excessive Internet use (EIU) or Internet addiction (IA). Adolescents reporting lower socioeconomic status, lower life satisfaction, or higher level of emotional and behavioural problems, or experiencing discrimination by peers were at higher risk of EIU or IA. Moreover, gender was found to be an important moderator of the association between discrimination by peers because of an unfavourable situation and EIU. Thus, boys experiencing this type of discrimination were more likely to become excessive Internet users.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Reijneveld, Menno, Supervisor
    • Madarasová Gecková, Andrea, Supervisor
    • van Dijk, Jitze, Co-supervisor
    • Holubcíková, Jana, Co-supervisor
    Award date19-Jun-2023
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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