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Slaves to our Screens?: A Critical Approach to Self-Regulation of Smartphone Use at the Example of Apple’s Screen Time Feature
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The increasingly ubiquitous role of smartphones in our everyday lives causes concerns regarding our relationship with the devices. While some raise the question whether smartphones are addictive (Alter 2017; Lopez-Fernandez 2019), others regard this concern as the most recent manifestation of moral panics (Cashmore, Cleland & Dixon 2018; Leick 2019). Meanwhile advocates of the attention economy argument claim that the problem is the design of technology occupying users’ attention (CHT 2019a-d). Somewhere in between, media and communication studies search for empirical evidence.

From this vantage point of ideas this study explores the role of Screen Time, shaping and being shaped by this discourse. As a feature of Apple’s iOS software it is supposed to support users in regulating their smartphone use. Applying the walkthrough method as proposed by Light, Burgess & Duguay (2018) combined with an analysis of user experiences, shows how the technology company shapes a concept of self-regulation for users to adopt to. A concept, which first and foremost follows corporate and not the users’ best interest.

This thesis poses the the question whether we are slaves to our screens, but arrives at the conclusion that we carry chains of self-regulation. The question remains, how we can create more sustainable and meaningful environments for protecting our attention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 87
Keywords [en]
Self-Regulation; Screen Time; Smartphone Addiction; Moral Panic; Well-Being; Attention Economy; Actor-Network Theory; Critical Discourse Analysis; Walkthrough Method
National Category
Cultural Studies Media Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172680OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172680DiVA, id: diva2:1349239
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Available from: 2019-10-29 Created: 2019-09-07 Last updated: 2019-10-29Bibliographically approved

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  • apa
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