Exploring early adolescents’ stressful IT use experiences
Mehtälä, Saana; Salo, Markus; Tikka, Sara; Pirkkalainen, Henri (2023)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Early adolescents are accustomed to using information technology (IT) for different purposes as a part of their everyday life. While IT use can provide many benefits, it can also include negative experiences, such as feelings of stress (i.e. technostress). Considering that young IT users’ technostress perspectives have remained limited in the literature, this paper attempts to contrast their experiences with aspects from earlier research. A qualitative content analysis of semi-structured interviews with 31 primary and secondary school students reveals that early adolescents have encountered stressful IT use experiences that vary based on the degree of stress. The experiences relate to different dimensions of IT use, namely 1) online social (media) behaviour, 2) notification-driven behaviour, 3) social distancing and online education behaviour, and 4) gameplay and other aspects of IT use behaviour. Common denominators for these experiences include the attention or time required by IT use and coming across unwanted content or communications. In addition to reporting negative feelings and emotions, the participants mentioned physical strains, including headache and exhaustion. Although early adolescents can face experiences that can be contrasted with similar stressors and strains as adults, the distinct characteristics of their IT use should be considered in future research.
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