In 2020, teenagers in Switzerland reported the highest increase in time spent online in the past decade, especially for smartphone and social media use. This increase is partly due to the changes in social habits induced by Covid-19 and further reflects the possible positive and negative consequences of digital media use in young people. Up to date, most research focused on the effects of digital media use on youth well-being conceptualized as the presence or absence of ill-being rather than on a positive conceptualization, like the presence of positive emotions and happiness (“hedonic” well-being) and the realization of one's intrinsic potential (“eudaimonic” well-being). This study, called HappyB, aims to investigate how digital media use, particularly smartphone and social media use, is linked, over time, to youth well-being conceptualized in a positive way. To better understand the underlying dynamics, this project includes two longitudinal studies in which young participants (about 1’600 students of four high schools in canton Ticino) will be followed over time. Data will also be collected through the use of the Ethica app. The project, funded by the Swiss National Research Fund (SNF), will start in January 2022 and will run for 24 months. The data collected will be analyzed at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, USA).
From 7 March 2022, the second phase of the HappyB project starts in the high schools of Mendrisio and Bellinzona. In particular, this includes an innovative part: the use of the Ethica application on the smartphone. Through the app, short questionnaires will be sent on the well-being of the participants and their use of smartphones and social media for two weeks. Ethica also allows the collection of objective data on smartphones use. We thank the high schools involved for their participation, which is essential for the success of this delicate phase of the study!
HappyB: Start of the Study
After the meetings with the high schools' teachers, on 31st January the first part of the HappyB study starts: 1660 students of the first and second year will answer the online questionnaire in February and March 2022. We thank the teachers and directors for their collaboration and wish them an excellent start to the study! For more information, see the Downloads.
HappyB: Focus group
The focus groups of the HappyB project took place on 21 and 22 December in the high schools of Mendrisio and Bellinzona. The opinion of the students is very important to allow us to better set up the new project. We still thank the directors of the high schools involved and the young people who told us about their experience between social media and well-being!