Mediated Interpersonal Communication

By Elly A. Konijn; Sonja Utz et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 18
Leisure boredom, sensation
seeking, self-esteem, and
addiction
Symptoms and patterns of cell phone
use

Louis Leung

According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 45 percent of 12–17-year-olds in the U.S.A. have cell phones, and 33 percent have used a cell phone to send text messages (Lenhart et al., 2005). Of those who often do texting on their cell phone, almost one in three (29 percent) teenagers use it to communicate with their parents. In another cell phone use study by Pew (Rainie & Keeter, 2006), it was reported that teenagers often use their cell phone to take still pictures (28 percent), play electronic games (22 percent), surf the internet (14 percent), and send/receive emails (8 percent). Playing with features on the cell phone (including reading online news and downloading songs, wallpaper, and ring tones) appears to have become the adolescent leisure phenomenon in recent years. As the phones have become cheaper and more sophisticated, sales of cell phones to teenagers have become more common. However, as the cell phones become more compact, concerns about problem use are growing. To date, there has been almost no study of whether cell phone use is addictive or dependence-forming.

This study was established to center upon the people directly involved with a modern syndrome—adolescents and young adults whose cell phones had come to dominate their lives and interests. The investigation aims to examine whether certain factors could be isolated as instrumental in the development of such a syndrome. Past research has found that the heaviest substance users or addicts tended to be those who scored high on sensation seeking and leisure boredom and low on self-esteem (Gordon & Caltabiano 1996; Iso-Ahola & Crowley, 1991; Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990). As a result, theoretical constructs, such as leisure boredom, sensation seeking, and self-esteem, will be used as the basis from which to explain addiction symptoms and cell phone use.

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