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Born at the advent of the 21st century, today’s adolescents have grown up with digital media from an early age. As “digital natives” they have quickly become used to personalized and always accessible media contents, one-to-one or one-to-many communication through instant messaging, and the hands-on information and services digital devices offer.

The growing diffusion of digital media such as tablets and smartphones among adolescents goes in hand with an increasing scientific interest in the benefits and risks of these devices for adolescent well-being. However, research to date on Internet and mobile media use in adolescents has two major methodological drawbacks, i.e. the predominant use of cross-sectional and self-report data, with implications on the valid, reliable, and complete assessment of digital media use and the identification of causal relationships with adolescent well-being.

The longitudinal MEDIATICINO2.0 study, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, aimed to overcome these limitations by combining objectively recorded data on smartphone use (e.g., screen state, app usage) via the Avicenna application with survey responses in a sub-sample of 100 subjects as part of a larger survey-based study with approximately 1’400 middle school students in Canton Ticino, Switzerland. As such, the study allowed to examine the causal relationship between smartphone use and adolescent well-being, and it further allows to evaluate the discrepancy between self-report and objectively recorded smartphone use.

Study Profile

Participation duration: 45 days in 2018 and 45 days in 2019

Sample size: 100 subjects

Data sources:

  • Screen state
  • Surveys
  • WIFI signals in the surrounding environment
  • Battery status
  • Motion recognition and pedometer
  • App usage

Research Team

Anne-Linda Camerini, Ph.D.
Faculty of Communication Sciences
USI Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland)

Laura Marciano, Ph.D. Candidate
Faculty of Communication Sciences
USI Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland)