Children use information and communication technologies (ICTs) alone from the age of 8 in Poland. It is alarming because digital screen time allegedly lowers life satisfaction. This research checked new mediating mechanisms such as friendship quality and life values (i.e., materialism and humanism) that connect technology and children’s life satisfaction. Nowadays friendships can take place online, offline, or in a mixed-mode – social use of ICTs might reinforce children’s friendships and affect life satisfaction indirectly. Moreover, in theory, technology could increases exposure to advertisements promoting materialism, and enable communication with others possibly increasing humanism. Materialism, places central focus in life on possessions while humanism on relations with other people – the first might harm life satisfaction, whereas the latter might promote it. In total, 583 Polish preadolescents, aged 9 to 13 from a small, a middle size, and a large city were included in this study. The surveys asked about the frequency of social use of ICTs, perceived quality of online, mixed-mode, and offline friendships, materialism, humanism, and life satisfaction. The data was analyzed using structural equation modeling. The social use of ICTs negatively predicted life satisfaction. Nevertheless, children who used ICTs for social reasons more had better quality of online and mixed-mode friendships, moreover they were more materialist and humanist at the same time. Online friends predicted lower life satisfaction, while offline friendship quality had the opposite effect. Materialism did not predict any variables but lowered humanism. Humanist life goals led to better quality of all types of friends and a more satisfying life. While technology enabled contact with friends, it is the real-life contact and humanist outlook on life, which predicted life satisfaction among Polish preadolescents.

, , , , , , ,
Opree, S.
Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Żerebecki, Bartosz. (2019, July 15). Friendships and Happiness in a Digital World. The effects of the social use of ICTs on friendship quality, life values, and life satisfaction among Polish preadolescents.. Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. Retrieved from