A marketing approach to a psychological problem: Problematic smartphone use on adolescents

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Ertemel A. V., ARI E.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol.17, no.7, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijerph17072471
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Geobase, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: problematic smartphone use, adolescence, marketing, unhook, gamification
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Smartphones have become an indispensable part of the daily lives of adolescents in the 21st century, which is characterized by a highly digitized modern world. Besides their many advantages, smartphones might pave the way to compulsive usage and addictive experiences. To remedy this problem, this study proposes an authentic approach which integrates consumer behavior theories and techniques such as unhook and gamification. An education program has been designed based on these approaches to decrease the problematic smartphone use. Method: The participants of the education program consisted of 305 students (48.2% girls and 51.8% boys) with a mean age of 14.57 (SD = 0.74). The Demographic Form and Smartphone Addiction Scale for Adolescents (SASA) were conducted before the education program and three weeks after the education. Results: The results of the paired sample t-test analysis before and after the education program revealed that the SASA total scores decreased significantly (p < 0.01). There are significant differences in terms of gender, mothers’ education and class levels. Conclusion: This research emphasizes the role of an interdisciplinary approach to the addiction problem. The content used in the education program includes strategies that originally aimed at increasing consumption. The effectiveness of the program can be enhanced further in the future along with self-regulatory additions.