“Is everyone alive?”: Smartphone use by Ukrainian refugee children

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By giving voice to 15 Ukrainian refugees, aged 10–14, who sheltered in a refugee camp in Poland in March 2022, this qualitative study reveals how and why they used smartphones, to cope with the challenges they faced in the first days of the Russia–Ukraine war. The results showed that by the second week since the inception of the war, the children and adolescents already had created new practices of smartphone use, suitable for war. They extensively used their smartphones offline and online for three overarching purposes: in order to emotionally regulate themselves; make significant contacts with other people; and maintain identity. The current study shows the important role of avoidant and collective coping strategies in the lives of children and adolescents in war and contributes to a deeper and pragmatic understanding of their digital coping in war.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media and Society
StatePublished - 15 May 2023


  • Children refugees
  • Russia–Ukraine war
  • coping strategies
  • smartphone use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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