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Social capital for Korean adolescents with smartphones

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Literature Review by Will Remigio



Research

Article Title: The relationship between smartphone use for communication, social capital, and subjective well-being in Korean adolescents: Verification using multiple latent growth modeling. Bae, S. (2019). The relationship between smartphone use for communication, social capital, and subjective well-being in Korean adolescents: Verification using multiple latent growth modeling. Retrieved from Children and Youth Services Review, 96, 93.



Research Purpose/Question(s)

This longitudinal study examined the effects of smartphone communication to improve youth well-being and social capital to family/peers and community. Social capital meaning the social reciprocity, social interactions, social support, and social ties developed by youth through the use of smartphone communication (including calling, messaging, looking up and sharing information online, and social media).


Sample/ Audience

Elementary school children. In 2014, 2110 adolescents were surveyed; average age of 10.85 years (1086 males & 1024 females). In 2015, 2067 adolescents were surveyed; average age of 11.96 years (1066 males & 1001 females). In 2016, 2002 adolescents were surveyed; average age of 12.98 years (1039 males, 963 females).



Methods


Trained researchers surveyed 1 student from each elementary school-classroom in schools located in the 16 metropolitan areas of Korea. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were used as a measurement tool to assess level of social capital. Students answered sixteen measures using a four-point scale (0 = never, 4 = very much). Social capital measures were divided in three subcategories made up of family, friends, community.



Results


Smartphones were mainly used for voice call, messaging, accessing and sharing online information, and social media. Smartphone ownership was associated with higher levels of well-being. Smartphones were associated with higher levels of family and friend social capital. Youth who owned smartphones felt more connected to their family and peers but not necessarily more connected to their community.



Strengths of Study


Large sample size. Longitudinal study resulted in more generalizable knowledge across Korean youth living in metropolitan areas.



Limitations of Study


The young age of subjects may have affected results since their smartphone usage was filtered by parental discipline which at times prevented the child's use of the smartphone devices during certain times of day.





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