Tethered Disparities: Adolescent Smartphone Use in Rural and Urban China

Huan Chen, Zixue Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The pervasive penetration of the smartphone has disproportionately affected adolescents and youth more than any other sociodemographic group. Inspired by the conceptual framework of the digital divide in internet use, this research aims to interrogate the multi‐dimensional aspects of disparities in smartphone use among teens in China. Measurement was devel-oped to assess the first‐, second‐, and third‐level divide as manifested in smartphone access and engagement in a variety of activities, different skill sets, and myriad outcomes and consequences. Results from a cross‐sectional survey of 1,511 at-school teens show various patterns of divide along the lines of age, gender, and rural/mid‐sized‐city/metropolitan location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalMedia and Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the author(s); licensee Cogitatio Press (Lisbon, Portugal).


  • China
  • digital divide
  • media disparities
  • smartphone use
  • territorial gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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