"My smartphone is an extension of myself": A holistic qualitative exploration of the impact of using a smartphone

Harkin, L.J. ORCID: 0000-0003-0511-5934 and Kuss, D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8917-782X, 2020. "My smartphone is an extension of myself": A holistic qualitative exploration of the impact of using a smartphone. Psychology of Popular Media. ISSN 2689-6567

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Six billion people worldwide will be using smartphones in 2020 (Jonsson et al., 2017). The devices pose convenient solutions for leisure and work-related activities (Kuss, 2017). However, psychometric and addiction-based guidelines increasingly align smartphone over-use with technological addictions (Billieux et al., 2014). A more holistic exploration of smartphone use might help to highlight how everyday use interacts with or underpins more addictive forms of behaviours. Thus, this study aimed to explore in-depth experiences of smartphone use to understand from a holistic perspective what the perceptions and experiences of the devices are to smartphone users, using a qualitative focus group study (n=21, 11 females). Data were analysed using constructivist grounded theory. Results indicated smartphones were entwined with users’ lives as they formed an ‘extension of the self’. Subcategories highlighted that the devices hold value by ‘externalising identity’, ‘constant connectivity’, ‘mediating intimacy’, ‘authenticating experiences’, and ‘forfeiting agency’. In conclusion, the usability of the smartphone may create an interactive relationship with the sense of self. Close relationships with smartphones appear to shape interpersonal relationships. Additionally, participants held an expectation that the user has agency over their actions, which is at odds with evidence of un-autonomous, compulsive behaviours. Regarding the study’s public significance, this false perception of control may pose challenges for interventions which aim to reduce problematic smartphone use. Further research should contrast user perceptions using real-time smartphone data to understand the degree of true insight users have over their own behaviours.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Psychology of Popular Media
Creators: Harkin, L.J. and Kuss, D.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: 12 March 2020
ISSN: 2689-6567
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 06 Feb 2020 11:06
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2020 08:27
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/39177

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