Leslie Haddon

Looking for Diversity: Children and Mobile Phones

It is sometimes striking that many national studies of the use of mobile phones, and especially texting, by teenagers report somewhat similar practices. These include, for example, varieties of negotiation between parents and children over mobile use, parents attempts to monitor children by the mobile and sometimes teenagers resistance to this, the
emergence of norms about texting between peers, changes in the organisation of meeting between peers through the use of the mobile, etc. But where do we find diversity in children’s experience? What frameworks should we use to address this, what questions should we ask? One starting point is some of the national specificities mentioned in
certain research or observations about gender differences. But we should be able to go beyond this given the diversity of experience noted in studies of other ICTs. This presentation will review this material and address this issue, also raising questions about the study of pre-teens who have received less research attention to date. It will also ask
about such variation in experience when looking to future scenarios where mobile devices take on yet more functionalities.

Dr Leslie Haddon is a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, a Visiting Research Associate at Chimera (University of Essex) and a part-time Lecturer at Media@LSE where he teaches a course on Media, Technology and Everyday Life. Over the last 20 years he has worked chiefly on the social shaping and consumption of information and communication technologies, covering the topics of computers, games, telecoms, telework, intelligent homes, cable TV, mobile telephony and Internet use. In addition to numerous journal publications and book chapters, Haddon was co-author of The Shape of Things to Consume: Bringing Information Technology into the Home (with A. Cawson and I.
Miles, Avebury, 1995), author of Information and Communication Technologies in Everyday Life: A Concise Introduction and Research Guide (Berg, 2004) and main editor of Everyday Innovators, Researching the Role of Users in Shaping ICTs (Springer, 2005)