How many hours do Italian kids spend on videogames? Do they know when it's best to stop or is parental intervention needed? And do they play alone or in teams? And again, what are the social networks that use the most? Do they use an account with their personal data or instead a false identity? And finally, when they watch a TV series, can they be critical viewers of the content – for example, on themes like friendship and love? These are just some of the many questions that have been the subject of the new study entitled Teen Usage Of New And Old Media: Formation & Family recently conducted by the research team of Familyandmedia.
The study wanted to focus on the ways and effects of the use of new technologies by Italian teenagers, focusing in particular on three aspects:
- T.V. series;
- Social networks.
The research was conducted over the course of 2016 in various Italian cities (Perugia, Piacenza, Bari, and Rome) in collaboration with ANSPI (San Paolo National Association of Oratories), on a panel comprised of almost 100 boys and girls, fairly divided between males and females, ages 14 – 20 years old. All information has been collected through game activities, to encourage the openness and spontaneity in the responses, without telling the kids that they were taking part in a social study.
To start, this study was born out of the permanent attention and systematic observations that Familyandmedia has been carrying out for more than ten years, with particular attention on the world of young people. Observing the daily behaviors of young people on the bus or on the street, concentrated on the latest video game of the times or what to post or chat about next, and sending emoticons and photos on social networks, was a strong incentive to go further with a specific study on the theme of the relationship between young people and technologies, trying a new methodological variation in addition to the usual focus group typical of social research: that of the game that allows a naturalness in behavior and responses by the kids, which comes from being observed without warning.
The ultimate goal of the study is not to simply collect a large amount of data, but to go further, offering a guide and a thoughtful and also practical orientation to teachers, coaches, educators and parents to build something that is still missing in the current public space: a digital culture.
Digital culture means not only the theoretical or technical knowledge of modern media, but the will and ability to build a healthy, free, conscious and balanced relationship with the technological tools that have now become real artificial extensions of the our body. Digital culture means knowing when the time is right to turn off the iPad or cell phone, or know how to discern the positive and negative messages of a TV series.
At the center of everything there is the need to insist on the formation of character and virtues, above from the dominant educational model which favors a soft psychologism and a poor notionism. The character of an adolescent forged on virtues will make him not only strong and ready to face the many obstacles of life, but also able to build a free and balanced relationship with people and objects, without getting caught up in the unhappiness of possession. A well-shaped young man will in turn be a good educator for his own children and for many other children, capable of transmitting values and being a guide on major topics such as love, friendship, loyalty, trust.
What does this research offer?
This research is intended to offer a reflection on the theme of the relationship between technology and adolescence, in particular for all those who work in the educational world and who are involved in research and youth formation.
Do not think of the sort of research that contains tables, graphs, statistics and percentages. Imagine, rather, young people in the flesh who, with spontaneity and enthusiasm, tell you something about themselves and their way of seeing life. The purpose? To think and inspire subjects and educational programs that arise from the confrontation with these young people.
To read the complete text of the new study by Familyandmedia download the ebook of the research here for free. Enjoy the reading!