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Dall’esclusione digitale al sovrautilizzo: Origini sociali, pervasività dello smartphone e rendimenti scolastici

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Abstract

Smartphones diffusion has contributed to the closing of the digital divide, allowing adolescents from all economic and social backgrounds to access the internet. However, the pervasiveness of such devices even in the most relevant moments of the day has raised some concerns about the unexpected consequences of their use. There is an extensive literature highlighting the negative association between smartphone overuse and adolescents' school performances, while recent research finds first evidences of a greater diffusion of this phenomenon among low educated families. Therefore, differences in the amount of resources that parents can invest in the limitation and guidance of their children's smartphone usage may possibly be fostering new forms of social inequality. We tested this hypothesis on a dataset of 489 high-school students, linking their social origins with their smartphone usage habits, grade point average and Invalsi standardized test scores. By means of a mediation analysis, we show that smart-phone pervasiveness moderately mediates the negative relationship between family educational background and students' learning outcomes, contributing to the divide between high and low performers.
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... Fifty percent said they use them frequently while doing their homework, and 60% use them while involved in other leisure activities (such as watching a film). These percentages are significant, especially when considering the negative link that emerges from literature between the pervasive use of smartphones and students' academic performance (see Gui and Gerosa 2018;Wentworth and Middleton 2016;Xu 2015). In addition to a frequent use of smartphones at sensitive times, students also showed a significant level of distress from the smartphone usage. ...
... Two previously validated scales were used to quantify the level of smartphone pervasiveness in students' everyday lives and their risk of problematic use: the Smartphone Pervasiveness Scale (SPS-A) and the Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS-A). The first was taken from a previous study of Italian high school students (Gerosa and Gui 2018), and measures the frequency of smartphone use in relevant moments of the day. The resulting index summarises the interviewees' perceptions of their smartphone use at dinner with family, while they spend time with friends, while doing their homework, at night, in the morning when they wake up, and while they are watching a movie or a tv programme. ...
... In the preintervention survey, students' average score on the scale was 49. This initial result shows that the frequent use of smartphones at key times of day is widespread among participants and should not be underestimated, especially considering its potential negative effects on biorhythms (Lemola et al. 2015;Pecor et al. 2016), interpersonal relations (Rotondi et al. 2017), productivity and academic performance (Gui and Gerosa 2018;Xu 2015). When we observe the distribution of the score based on the students' main sociodemographic characteristics ( fig. ...
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... A growing literature exists on smartphone overuse, which has investigated the psychological roots of this phenomenon and highlighted its negative consequences (see Elhai et al., 2017 for a review). In particular, a problematic relationship between excessive smartphone use and youth wellbeing is emerging in a number of studies (Lee et al., 2014;Lee, Cho, Kim, & Noh, 2015;Demirci et al., 2015), together with its negative association with academic performances at different educational levels (Gerosa & Gui 2018;. Research has found that only a minority of adolescents can be considered smartphone addicted (Kwon et al., 2013;Haug et al., 2015). ...
... Despite evidence of a slight decrease in educational inequality based on social class (Breen et al., 2009), social origins still represent a very strong predictor of school success (Shavit & Blossfeld 1993;Bukodi et al., 2014). In particular, parents' educational attainment is one of the strongest correlates of students' academic performance, even more so than other well-known measures of social origins such as family income, social class or status 1 This study builds on an exploratory work with similar objectives but with different methods and limited data carried out in Gerosa & Gui (2018). (Goldthorpe & Bukodi, 2012). ...
Chapter
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In recent years, smartphones have become the most popular and ubiquitous tool for adolescents to access the internet in developed countries (Mascheroni & Ólafsson, 2016). Increasingly, children’s and teens’ daily lives tend to gravitate around their smartphones, mainly for social uses: they spend a good deal of time with their mobile devices communicating and “hanging out” with friends, posting and responding to each others’ messages, but also playing multiplayer games, surfing the web and listening to music in a state of constant connectedness (Chayko, 2017). However, the pervasiveness of this device, even in the most relevant moments of the day has raised some concerns about its confinement capabilities by users. Turkle (2014, 2016) has argued that significant smartphone use at important moments of the day, such as family dinner or sleeping hours, can be socially and psychologically harmful. A growing literature exists on smartphone overuse, which has investigated the psychological roots of this phenomenon and has highlighted its negative consequences (see Elhai et al., 2017 for a review). In particular, a problematic relationship between excessive smartphone use and youth wellbeing is emerging in a number of studies (Lee et al., 2014; Lee, Cho, Kim, & Noh, 2015; Demirci et al., 2015), in addition to its negative association with academic performances at different educational levels (Samaha & Hawi, 2016; Hawi & Samaha, 2016). In this paper we test the hypothesis that smartphone pervasiveness in adolescents’ daily life represents a new source of digital and social inequality by analyzing data on the entire high-school student population of the Valle D’Aosta region, in Northern Italy (N=4,675). By means of a mediation analysis, we show how smartphone pervasiveness mediates the relationship between students’ social origins – measured though their parents’ educational level – and learning outcomes, thus contributing to deepening the academic divide between high and low-performing students.
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Per citare il documento: Gui M., Gerosa T., Vitullo A., Losi L. (2020), L'età dello smartphone. Un'analisi dei predittori sociali dell'età di accesso al primo smartphone personale e delle sue possibili conseguenze nel tempo, È un Centro di Ricerca che si occupa del rapporto tra media digitali e qualità della vita. Il "benessere digitale" è la condizione di chi sa sfruttare le crescenti opportunità messa a disposizione dai media digitali, sapendo al contempo controllare e agevolare gli effetti delle loro dinamiche indesiderate.
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