Are you constantly glued to your phone, laptop, or tablet? If yes, then you might be suffering from technostress – a term used to describe the stress caused by the use of information and communication technology (ICT). And if you’re an adolescent, you might be at an even higher risk of experiencing technostress. As adolescents are still developing their identity, acquiring mental strength, and adopting essential social skills, the impact of technostress on them could be even more severe.
In today’s digital age, technology has become an integral part of our lives, and it’s hard to imagine a day without using our smartphones, laptops, or other devices. However, the constant use of information and communication technology (ICT) has given rise to a new phenomenon known as technostress, which can have negative effects on our mental health and well-being. Technostress is especially concerning for adolescents, who have grown up using ICT and are still developing their identity, mental strength, and social skills.
How Teenagers Are Affected by Technostress and How They Can Cope with It
To better understand how adolescents cope with the demands of ICT use and the stress it can cause, a recent study combined both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Conducted by Marco Schmidt, Lukas Frank and Henner Gimpel, the study is called “How Adolescents Cope with Technostress: A Mixed-Methods Approach” and is published in the prestige International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Taylor and Francis.
The subsequent quantitative study found that there were gender- and age-related differences in adolescents’ perception of technostress. However, as a group, adolescents activated a broad portfolio of coping responses. Researchers used exploratory factor analysis to identify five factors underlying adolescents’ activation of coping responses, including the five categories identified in the qualitative phase.
This research aimed to understand the coping responses that adolescents activate to mitigate technostress, and what determines their selection of technostress coping responses. The study consisted of two sequential studies – a qualitative and a quantitative one. Through workshops with 30 adolescents between ages 10-17, they collected coping responses in five categories – Avoid Stressful ICT, Follow the Rules, Use ICT Consciously, Contain Negative Emotions, and Acquire ICT.
What researchers say about technostress?
In their study, they found that adolescents activate a broad portfolio of coping responses to manage their technostress, which was also influenced by factors such as age and gender. Their study provides a wide-ranging, theoretically elicited, and empirically supported set of technostress coping responses for adolescents. This study complements previous research on adolescents’ technostress coping by examining coping with multiple technostress creators, rather than just single ones.
They also identified factors underlying the activation of technostress coping responses that align with the theoretical categorization of coping responses. However, they are novel to technostress coping literature and require further research to confirm their validity. Additionally, they observed individual differences in the perception of technostress and the activation of coping responses, which were partially explained by demographics and technostress creators.
Overall, this study contributes to developing a comprehensive classification of technostress coping responses and advances the theoretical understanding of technostress mitigation measures. It also illuminates adolescents as an important yet understudied population in technostress research.
Interestingly, researchers found that girls were more likely than boys to use coping responses related to the Avoid Stressful ICT factor. Additionally, adolescents who owned more devices were less likely to follow the rules. The study also revealed that coping responses increased with the intensity of technostress, but some coping responses broke out of this pattern.
The findings of this study contribute to the theoretical and empirical understanding of technostress coping in adolescents, an important yet understudied population. The study’s results suggest that adolescents are capable of activating a broad range of coping responses to manage technostress.