Study: More and more young people in digital time stress

On the occasion of the 16th International Safer Internet Day on February 05, 2019, our Austrian partner initiative presented a recent study on the topic of "Young people in digital time stress". According to the study, 35 percent of young people in Austria already perceive digital time stress. Parents in particular are called upon to act as contact persons. Family rules for everyday life with smartphones & can help reduce the pressure.

Young people increasingly annoyed by excessive cell phone use

More than a third of respondents (35%) say that cell phones and other digital devices sometimes get too much for them. This applies more often to 15- to 17-year-olds (44%) than to 11- to 14-year-olds (27%). There are also differences between girls (40%) and boys (32%). 59% are annoyed that their friends look at their cell phones too much when they are out together. Almost as many (55%) are even annoyed that they look at their smartphones too much themselves. Young people are also critical of their parents: Around one in three respondents (34%) are annoyed that their parents spend too much time on their cell phones.

Stress of having to answer immediately

60 percent of young people expect to receive a response to messages on WhatsApp, Snapchat & Co immediately or at least within a few minutes. At the same time, this expectation is also one of the biggest stress factors for themselves. Groups in social networks, where sometimes hundreds of messages are exchanged daily, intensify this stress. For the younger ones in particular, it is often not easy to escape the peer pressure. They fear social disadvantages and exclusion.

Reaching for the cell phone right after waking up

The study shows that two-thirds (66%) look at their cell phones for the first time no later than five minutes after waking up. Only 4 percent take more than an hour with it. It is therefore not surprising that the cell phone is in the room of 81 percent of young people during the night - switched on for 30 percent and in flight mode for 21 percent, in each case in or directly next to the bed and for another 30 percent somewhere in the room.

Parents challenged: Family rules work

In 62 percent of the families of the young people surveyed, there are or were already rules on the use of digital devices. The most common are a ban on cell phones during meals, no cell phones while doing homework and time limits. At the same time, almost half of those surveyed are said to be constantly available to the family. 46 percent of those who currently have experience with rules also say they "always" or "almost always" abide by them, and another 43 percent "tend to." Even if one or two of the young people's self-assessments need to be questioned, the encouraging message to parents is that it makes sense to make rules!

First pioneers against digital time stress

The first pioneers against digital time stress are now appearing, especially among older young people. For example, 28 percent of those surveyed said they had already gone on a "digital diet," i.e., they had consciously given up their cell phones and computers for a while. Practical tips from young people to combat online stress include deactivating notifications, repeatedly switching on flight mode, banishing frequently used apps from the home screen and moving them to the back of the screen, and resolving in certain everyday situations (e.g., waiting for the bus) to leave the cell phone in their pocket and just listen to music, for example.

About the study

The study on "Young people in digital time stress" was conducted by the Institute for Youth Culture Research on behalf of and ISPA (Internet Service Providers Austria). In the representative online survey, 400 young people aged 11 to 17 were interviewed. The study was supplemented by focus groups and practical experiences from the Austria-wide workshops.


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