Mobile phones and the experience of time: New perspectives from a deprivation study of teenagers

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3 Scopus citations


A number of studies have sought to understand how mobile phones affect time practices, and beyond them, the experience of time in users’ daily lives. This article is a further effort in that direction, employing the deprivation study method. We conducted a field study of 80 adolescents, or “cellular natives,” separating them from their cellphones for 1 week. The findings indicate that the cellphone’s absence indeed had a dominant impact on a variety of adolescents’ time-related practices and experience, that yielded in turn both negative and positive feelings. We propose three main axes for understanding the cellphone’s implications for the time experience: The mobile’s flexible time v. Rigid time, its ritual time v. Linear time, and its fragmented time v. Continuous time. In all these dimensions, we point to distinct features of the time experience associated with the mobile phone, and also try to relate it to the emotional state and state of mind of today’s teens. In conclusion, we propose that a broad understanding of the cellphone’s role need to include the aspect of time, at least as it is experienced by adolescents in our current media climate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0961463X221077492
Pages (from-to)366-391
Number of pages26
JournalTime and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • cellular telephony
  • deprivation studies
  • smartphones
  • teens
  • time experience
  • time practices


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