Mobile Phones and Children: An Australian Perspective

Niranjala Weerakkody
InSITE 2008  •  Volume 8  •  2008
Mobile phones in Australia record one of the world’s highest rates of ownership among children under 18. This paper examines issues of mobile phones and Australian children and the various discourses (systematic frames) used in discussing their effects. These are the optimistic (gains); pessimistic (losses, costs or harms); pluralistic (technology per se is neutral but how it is used matters); historical development (importance and skills learnt); futuristic predictions (promises and dangers); current uses (connectivity, convergence and interactivity); and techno-realist view (as a mixed blessing). Taking the Justification View of Technology that sees technological adoption as a gamble and borrowing from Joshua Meyrowitz, it examines how mobile phones have eroded parental power over how, when, where and with whom their children communicate, while at the same time, becoming a ‘digital leash’ for parents to re-establish their control and an ‘umbilical cord’ of children to remain connected with parents at all times.
Mobile phones, technology and discourses, technology and framing, framing, discourses, children and mobile phones, parental power and mobile phones, Australia, digital leash, digital umbilical cord.
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