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Mobile phones as life and thought companions

Xiao, ZhiMin (2020) 'Mobile phones as life and thought companions.' Research Papers in Education, 35 (5). pp. 511-528. ISSN 0267-1522

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Abstract

According to adults who ban adolescent interactions with mobile phones in Chinese high schools, students ‘addicted’ to mobile phones lack will power and schools without a restrictive policy on mobile phone use among students on campus are ‘poor’ in quality. Upon analysis of data from 45 semi-structured interviews with second-year high school students from urban, rural, and Tibetan regions of China, this study finds that the consequences of mobile phone use are not always pre-determined. Teens do not merely use their phones to connect; they also treat them as ‘life’ and ‘thought’ companions, which they invest with feelings and thoughts that animate life experiences and catalyse healthy development. The wholesale ban on mobile phone use in school is destined to fail and risks blinding parents and educators to potential benefits the technology has to offer, for it overlooks the value of mobile phones as objects of ‘passion’ and ‘reason’, ignores the opportunity to engage with teens who make visible online the problems they struggle with offline, and disregards the need for empathic imagination.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adolescent; care; China; high school; smartphone; wellbeing
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 19:25
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:22
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30831

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