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Minerva Pediatrica 2006 August;58(4):357-63


language: English

Mobile phone and young people. A survey pilot study to explore the controversial aspects of a new social phenomenon

Dimonte M. 1, Ricchiuto G. 2

1 Imaging Diagnostics Unit Cardinale G. Panico Hospital, Tricase (LE), Italy 2 Course of Technologies on Education and Learning, Scuola Interateneo per la Formazione degli Insegnanti di Scuola Superiore (SISS)University of Bari at Lecce, Lecce, Italy


Aim. Aim of this paper is to report the results of a pilot study as a part of a program addressed to health promotion and to improve the culture of sustainability in the school.
Methods. A 15-items structured questionnaire was administered to 1 011 students (aged 9-18 years) in order to explore the entity of the phenomenon of mobile telephony among the young and qualitatively esteem the level of exposure to the potential adverse health and social effects of such dominant form of electronically mediate communication. This preliminary information was then deepened by in-group interviews focused to clarify the cultural basis of the phenomenon.
Results. The survey-study confirmed that the penetration of mobile telephony among the young matches with the national trend: 96% of 14-18-teens own at least one mobile phone; 22% of them own multiple mobile phones. In addition, the most of them use mobile phone all the day; a third makes calls over 6 minutes long; half is poorly informed about the potential health risks related to the “electromagnetic pollution”.
Conclusion. Despite the most perceive mobile phone like something noxious, only 23% holds it far from body; a very small percentage uses a hands-free kit. Most declared to suffer from a sort of addiction towards mobile phone. In the light of a growing literature and of a supposed more vulnerability of children and adolescents towards toxicants than adults, we believe that health and school operators should inform parents and the young about the possible risks linked to the abuse of technology and promote a more critic and responsible approach to mobile phone.

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