The Age of the Smartphone: An Analysis of Social Predictors of Children’s Age of Access and Potential Consequences Over Time

Tiziano Gerosa*, Lucilla Losi, Marco Gui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Smartphones are the principal instrument for internet access among adolescents and pre-adolescents in many industrialized countries. However, research on the long-term correlates of age at first access to these devices concerning life outcomes is scarce. This study contributes to the literature by collecting data from 3,247 Italian students in grade 10. Through OLS and logistic regressions, we investigate socio-demographics’ role in predicting the age of first smartphone access and the associations between the age of access and selected life outcomes. The moderating effect of socio-demographics on such relationships is also investigated through multiple-interaction models. Results suggest that females and students from less-educated families are more likely to receive smartphones earlier. Early smartphone access is negatively associated with adolescents’ well-functioning. Finally, deferring access reduces the gender gap in language proficiency, digital skills and life satisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYouth & Society
ISSN0044-118X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • smartphone
  • age of access
  • adolescence
  • digital inequalities
  • digital wellbeing
  • life outcomes
  • moderation analysis

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