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The comfort of phones - Deirdre from Ireland

Deirdre, a research participant in Ireland, talks about her smartphone use and what it means to her.

A common phrase used in the discussion of smartphones is ‘smartphone addiction’, partly in acknowledgement that some apps are designed to ‘hook’ users and extend their time using that app.

The problem is that in practice, there is a wide range of reasons why people might be constantly on their smartphones. This could range from schoolchildren who are interested in what someone might be saying about them to people who spend a long amount of time playing games, to people who feel the need to check the latest political news every few minutes. But these are all quite different reasons for using a smartphone and are better understood as addiction to specific content or behaviour, rather than being thought of as smartphone addiction.

In our project, we are interested in understanding why an individual might spend an inordinate amount of time on their phones. This is something made clear by Deirdre, a research participant in Ireland, who appreciates that her increased use of her smartphone was due to some very specific circumstances at a particular point in her life, as you can see in the film above.

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An Anthropology of Smartphones: Communication, Ageing and Health

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