The present research was based on the following assumption: under social restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the involvement of teenagers in the virtual environment depended on the degree of restriction of their natural social interaction, which was significantly greater in Moscow than in Lipetsk. The experiment involved 146 middle school students of 8–9 grades from the industrial city of Lipetsk (96) and Moscow (50). The respondents answered V. G. Kamenskaya’s questionnaire of Digital Preferences of Modern Teenagers, pretested on a sample of Moscow schoolchildren. The minimal and average time of using gadgets for social networks and online games was very similar in both groups. However, a significantly larger number of Moscow teenagers spent four hours of their free time on online games and virtual communication, which can be considered as a relatively high risk of Internet addiction. A significantly higher percentage of Lipetsk students maintained several social net accounts and blogs, which means a relatively high competence of virtual communication. In general, the high activity of schoolchildren in the virtual communication space manifested itself as a specific form of psychological protection against the restriction of real-time social commination during the pandemic.
adolescents, capital, industrial city, COVID-19 pandemic, social media, distinct behavior in virtual space
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