Use of Digital Technologies and Social Media and the Social Relationships of Teenagers

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Abstract

Polish pedagogical and psychological literature as well as mass media more and more often inform about disorders of competences and social relations of teenagers, as a result of abuse of digital technologies, especially smartphones. The authors analysed 31 cases of patients with cyberabuse and addictions at the Social Prevention Centre in terms of the occurrence, intensity and character of the disappearance of their real social contacts, as well as their behaviour in small natural peer groups. The obtained results were compared with 49 groups of adults and parents of patients. Research based on participatory observation and in-depth interviews showed that teenagers devote over 62% less time to personal social relations than their parents, their time of real social relations with parents is about 38 minutes per day, create atomistic attitudes towards family (e.g. refusal to participate in common meals), have shallow and narrow groups of friends, and prefer borrowed contacts (through social media). The average declared number of teenagers’ friends in social media exceeds 540, while their parents use smartphones in less than 140. Young respondents use smartphones in almost every social and life context (e.g. in toilets, in church, at school, during meals). The research confirmed the occurrence of digital technology abuse. The article ends with preventive delegations.

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