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Do Portuguese and Spanish young people use mobile phones differently?

Charo Sádaba, Facultad de Comunicación e Instituto Cultura y Sociedad, Universidad de Navarra; Gonzalo Fernández-Duval e Javier García-Manglano, Instituto Cultura y Sociedad, Universidad de Navarra; Tiago Lapa e Gustavo Cardoso, Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia, University Institute of Lisbon;
Commissioned research

Members of the so-called Generation Z, born around the year 2000, have grown up in a hypertechnological context, in which smartphone use has become part of everyday life. Although many studies have investigated the impact of screens on young people’s well-being and relationships, there are still few that have explored differences in smartphone use between countries. This study explores six smartphone user profiles and their consequences for users’ satisfaction and well-being, in young people aged 20 to 24 in Spain and Portugal. Although differences are found between countries (for example, Portuguese young people are slightly more satisfied with their personal relationships; Spanish with work and leisure), the factors most strongly associated with young people’s well-being or distress are their reasons for using their smartphone, rather than their country of origin.
Key points
  • 1
       Portugal and Spain have similar user profiles: moderate, hyperconnected, organised, social, impulsive and escapist.
  • 2
       The largest group is that of moderate users: almost half of young people (42% in Spain and 43% in Portugal) correspond to this profile
  • 3
       Escapist and hyperconnected users are more prone to problematic smartphone use, while organised and moderate users show a lower risk of problematic use.
  • 4
       Relational satisfaction is slightly greater in Portugal than in Spain, regardless of the smartphone user profile. In both countries, the social profile contains the largest number of young people who are satisfied with their family and friends.
  • 5
       Spanish young people are slightly more satisfied than their Portuguese counterparts with their job or studies and their leisure time; satisfaction with leisure, for all profiles and in both countries, scores lower than satisfaction with work.

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