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Comunicar Journal 64: Children, youth and media in the era of smart devices: Risks, threats and opportunities (Vol. 28 - 2020)

Maladaptive use of ICT in adolescence: Profiles, supervision and technological stress


ICT use during adolescence is now commonplace. Its power of attraction and the vulnerable condition of adolescents are giving rise to growing concern, aggravated by the imminent consequences of such synergy. In order to deepen understanding of this relationship, the following research objectives were formulated: a) Analyze the frequency of ICT use; b) Examine family supervision; c) Identify stress associated with the use of ICTs; d) Establish profiles of ICT use. The sample consisted of 1,101 adolescents of 10 educational centers in Southeastern Spain. A descriptive analysis was performed and contingency tables, Chi Square, Cramer V, hierarchical cluster analysis and one-factor ANOVA were used. The results show that more than 60% of adolescents use ICTs without supervision and that 1 out of 3 feel stressed in the absence of the Internet. In addition, statistically significant relationships were found between the frequency of ICT use and stress, as well as with family supervision. A solution of three groups or profiles of use was obtained. 45% of the subjects display maladaptive use or signs of it. The study concludes by stressing that the relationship between adolescents and ICTs is far from ideal and warns of the urgent need to train adolescents and parents in the responsible use of ICTs.