Telematics and Informatics vol:31 issue:2 pages:194-208
The importance of the mobile phone in the life of adolescents has led observers to speak of a Mobile Youth Culture. One of the central characteristics of this youth culture is the use of the mobile phone as a means to display or enhance one’s status in the peer group. To date, however, little attention has gone out to the different uses adolescents may have for their mobile phones. Therefore, this study aims to further our understanding of the heterogeneity in adolescent mobile phone use by examining whether we can distinguish between different ‘mobile lifestyles’ within the Mobile Youth Culture. Drawing on a quantitative survey among 1943 Flemish adolescents (12-18 years), we differentiated three lifestyles based on their attitudes towards the mobile phone as a fashion article, as a display of one’s popularity and as a display of one’s time scarcity. A two-step cluster procedure based on respondents’ scores on these three mechanisms revealed three different segments: trendy users (N = 603), engaged users (N = 864) and thrifty users (N = 436). These segments showed significantly different profiles in terms of socio-demographics, their use of the mobile phone in the presentation of the Self and the mobile phone’s role in their friendship relationships.