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Learning, Culture and Social Interaction




Elsevier BV

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


In the United States, where I am based, one would get the impression that smartphones are a dangerous drug. Adults worry about smartphone addiction, the correlation of depression with smartphone usage, and an excess amount of screen time (e.g., Elhai, Levine, Dvorak, & Hall, 2016; Duke & Montag, 2017; Škařupová, Ólafsson, & Blinka, 2017). News headlines appear about technology moguls who will not allow their own children to have their own mobile device despite they themselves being the leaders in smartphone products and services. This then evokes guilt and causes anxiety for all the other American adults who are not multimillionaires from the tech industry yet allow their own children to use mobile devices. These alarmist headlines appear in regard to smartphone use in discretionary time. One could imagine the fear and angst that might result from headlines about research on permitted mobile phone use in the classroom. Fortunately, various researchers from Nordic countries have done some of that research and provided empirically grounded arguments for what happens when smartphones are actually used in classrooms. They did so across two countries and with clever instrumentation that could capture what students were seeing on their phones in a way that gave options for students to choose what not to disclose to the research team. Americans can breathe a sigh of relief and look to this special issue for signs of what happens.



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