Mobile Me: Young People, Sociality and the Mobile Phone

ARC Linkage Project


Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald

Dr Theresa Anderson, Creative Practices Group, University of Technology Sydney

Professor John Gammack, School of Management, Griffith University

Postgraduate thesis

Damien Spry, ‘Mobile me, youth sociality and the mobile phone in Australia and Japan’.

A keitai adorned with a plethora of Hello Kitties. Each kitty represents a different location in Japan, visited by the owner. Photo by Larissa Hjorth.

'Mobile Me' investigates how, why, and with what effects children and young people are using mobile telephony in Australia. The project will involve young people and pre-teens from a variety of socio-political backgrounds as co-researchers in a three year review of the role of mobile communications in the development of social structures and friendship networks. There will be particular attention paid to the impact of communicative mobility on disadvantaged sectors of the community, and on the ways in which social and educational information is deployed and used through mobile phones to support social cohesion and to pursue group advantage.

The project tests and reinforces child-centred, participatory research practices and outcomes. It underlines the NSW Commission for Children and Young People's commitment to investigating contemporary problems and opportunities for young people, and to formulating appropriate policy responses. The project is designed to elicit and interpret young people's and pre-teen's views on their communicative environment, and to understand the mechanisms through which social relationships, information conduits, and knowledge networks are built and sustained. The dissemination of the findings will bring young people, educationalists and industry players into a productive dialogue on the benefits and dangers of this pervasive technology.


Stephanie Donald, SH., T. Anderson and D.Spry (eds) Youth, Society and Mobile Media in Asia, (London: Routledge, 2010).


‘Young people help the Commission and the University of Technology Sydney study mobile phones’ – NSW Commission for Children and Young People news item, 9 September 2008.

This project is funded by an ARC Linkage grant.