Risks of interactive communication in adolescents. Digital literacy diagnosis and intervention

  1. Isabel Rodríguez de Dios
Supervised by:
  1. Juan José Igartua Perosanz Director

Defence university: Universidad de Salamanca

Year of defence: 2018

  1. Francisco José García Peñalvo Chair
  2. Emma Rodero Antón Secretary
  3. Jochen Peter Committee member

Type: Thesis


Over the last few years, adolescents have increased their use of information and communication technology, such as smartphones and computers. Parents and educators, and therefore researchers, are particularly concerned about the effects, especially negative, that its use may have in minors. Consequently, there has been a significant increase in research focusing on minors and information and communication technology. Some scholars have raised awareness of the importance of taking urgent measures, such as educational interventions, to increase digital skills and address these risks. Consequently, the overall goal of this doctoral thesis is to improve digital skills in adolescents with the aim that they could afford, without danger, the risks of interactive communication and maximise the opportunities that this communication offers to them. From this overall goal, we set the following specific objectives: (1) Create a methodological tool, which will be submitted to statistical tests for reliability and validity to assess the level of digital skills of a population. (2) Analyse which personal and parental factors influence the level of digital skills, online risk behaviours and online opportunities. (3) Determine whether there is a relationship between digital skills and online risk behaviours. (4) Develop an intervention, using a mobile application, based on mobile learning, entertainment-education strategy, and theories of narrative persuasion to enable digital literacy. Therefore, this study aims to increase the digital skills of adolescents through two processes: a first process of performing a diagnosis of digital skills, and a second process of intervention for digital literacy. With this purpose, three studies are conducted. First, and with the aim of developing and validating a scale to assess the level of digital literacy in teenagers, a survey is conducted. Considering previous literature, the scale is developed and submitted to statistical tests of reliability and validity (exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and correlation with other variables). The second study is related to this digital literacy diagnosis and is also conducted by the survey technique. Because the goal of this thesis is to provide adolescents with digital skills, it is necessary to know their level of skills beforehand. Furthermore, we aim to analyse which parental factors influence the level of digital literacy, online risk behaviours and online opportunities, and to determine whether there is a relationship between digital literacy and online risk behaviours. Accordingly, a structural equation model is constructed to answer these questions. Finally, the third study consists of a digital literacy and coping strategies intervention based on mobile learning. Instead of using a traditional educational intervention, we develop a mobile application with the educational content. For developing this app, we consider mobile learning theories, the strategy of entertainment-education and narrative persuasion theory. Finally, with the aim of checking its effectiveness, the app is evaluated by a quasi-experimental design with two groups.