The first smartphone is given as a gift between 10 and 11 years old in 60% of cases. However, there is a 28% who receive it even before the age of 10. In addition, in the age group between 10 and 12 years old, 54% also start to have a social life with the opening of an account on social networks. This is what emerges from the Italian research "Adolescents and Lifestyles", carried out by Laboratorio Adolescenza (Laboratory of Adolescence) and Research Institute IARD (curated by Carlo Buzzi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Trento), with the collaboration of the Cultural Association of Pediatricians (ACP) and the Permanent Observatory on Young people and Alcohol and presented in Milan.
The survey was conducted between November 2018 and May 2019 on a representative national sample of 2019 students in the 13 - 14 age group.
With regard to the types of social media most used, the progressive decrease of Facebook, increasingly used by adults and less by very young people, and the increase of Instagram is confirmed. WhatsApp is practically "embedded" in all teenagers. They really can't do without it anymore. It is omnipresent throughout their day and has become the exclusive tool with which to communicate and maintain social relationships.
Mobile phones and sleep
The results of this research highlight the precocity of the use of technologies by Italian adolescents. What makes it even more worrying, is the fact that when access to a social network requires a minimum age, the adolescents in question lie in the moment of inscription:20% indicate a random age while 23% claim to be of age even though they are not.
Moreover, only 7% of the sample states that they sleep at least 9 hours per night, while 20% sleep even less than 7 hours.
In addition, 72% of females and 58% of males claim to have problems falling asleep , claiming to suffer from real insomnia. Naturally, the mobile phone is in these cases the unfailing bedfellow of these adolescents. The majority of respondents do not turn it off before going to sleep and, often even during the night, they text with friends. And the effects have a heavy impact on their rest. 15% of those who turn it off and 33% of those who leave it on say they sleep less than seven hours a night.
But what do teenagers do when they can't fall asleep? 44% of females and 36% of males surf the Internet or social networks . Only 30% turn on the television and less than 10% read a few pages of a book. It has to be said that insomnia from likes grows more and more.