Published On: Mon, Aug 14th, 2017

Smartphone tracking shows fear affects where youth spend time

Washington: Teenagers spend less than an hour in disadvantaged neighbourhoods that locals consider dangerous, but they don’t usually listen to their parents’ fears about safety, says a study that used smartphones to track kids.

The youth spent an average of 52 percent of their waking time each day at home, 13 percent in their neighborhoods and 35 percent outside of their neighborhoods.

The youth spent an average of 52 percent of their waking time each day at home, 13 percent in their neighborhoods and 35 percent outside of their neighborhoods.

Researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus, US found that adolescents aged 11 to 17, who spent over an hour less each day on average in their neighborhoods if residents there were very fearful, compared to kids from areas perceived as being safer.

The results revealed that the youth spent an average of 52 percent of their waking time each day at home, 13 percent in their neighborhoods and 35 percent outside of their neighborhoods.

Higher fear of crime was linked to high-poverty neighborhoods.

Lead Author Christopher Browning from The Ohio State University in Columbus, US claims that thisis the first study to use smartphone data to track a large, diverse sample of young people to determine where they spend their time.

But the findings indicated that even if cities provide services to deprived areas, teenagers may stay away if the area is perceived to be dangerous, leading such services to be used less, he said.

“It is clear that kids who live in high-poverty areas are spending less time in their neighborhoods and that is linked to a collective fear of crime,” Browning added.

The team examined lives of 1,402 representative youths living in 184 neighborhoods in Franklin County, Ohio, including Columbus and its suburbs.

The participating adolescents were given a smartphone that they kept with them for one week. The GPS function on the phone reported their location after every 30 seconds.

“It is clear that kids who live in high-poverty areas are spending less time in their neighborhoods and that is linked to a collective fear of crime,” Browning added.

About 27 percent of the time when they were not at home while awake, they were in their neighborhoods.

But the collective fear ratings of all the caregivers who lived in or regularly visited a neighborhood was strongly linked to the amount of time kids spent close to home.

The research was presented in Montreal at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

ANI

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