“If I Want to I Can Always Turn It Off” : A Study on the Social Impacts of Mobile Phones

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för kultur och kommunikation


In this study I have looked at social impacts of mobile telephone usage in Sweden in the Spring of 2001. Through observations and interviews have I tried to outline how social relations and concepts of time have changed and are still in a process of change alongside with the high percentage of mobile phone users today.

The conclusions I have made from my research is that mobile phone usage affects society and how people interact and that people want to reach others, but want to control their own reachability. Communication via mobile phone differs from face-to-face communication and communication on stationary phones, but mobile phones seem to be used as means to facilitate face-to-face interaction. There seem to be some commonly shared notions among my informants of what appropriate mobile phone behavior is, but people seem to not always abide to this. People tend to create their own private zones in public places when using their mobile phones and through their usage send social messages to others. I have also found that the use of time is an important aspect connected to mobile phones. People seem not to make as many plans ahead any longer, but instead make up plans as they go. Many seem to have forgotten how life was before there where mobile phones!

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