Blessing or Curse? Smartphones in the Life of Adolescents

Case study of the use of advanced research technologies: Blessing or Curse? Smartphones in the Life of Adolescents. The Institute of Communication and Health, Università della Svizzera italiana, using advanced research technology to study adolescent wellbeing.


The growing diffusion of digital media among adolescents goes in hand with an increasing scientific interest in associated benefits and risks for adolescent well-being. To date, research on digital (mobile) media in the life of adolescents largely relies on cross-sectional survey data from adolescents and, at times, their parents. Furthermore, most studies with adolescents in the Swiss context have focused on the use of the Internet in general and provide only little insights on the role of digital mobile media, and smartphones in particular. As young generations increasingly turn to mobile devices, comprehensive studies on their use and the impact on adolescent well-being are urgently needed. To overcome these limitations, the present research project proposes four studies aimed at providing a better understanding of the benefits and risks of smartphones in the life of adolescents. The project is an extension of the longitudinal MEDIATICINO project. It makes use of a longitudinal mixed-methods study design in a sample of middle school students and their parents in Canton Ticino. The study combines objectively recorded data on adolescents’ smartphone use (with the help of the Ethica Application) with survey responses from adolescents and their parents as well as adolescents’ end-term grades. Click here to find out more