Smartphone interactions and nature benefits: how predominant approaches picture social life and ways of advancing this work.

Published online
07 Aug 2022
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Hitchings, R. & Maller, C.
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Whether new technologies will have a positive impact on how societies experience nature depends on how particular devices and populations come to interact. This paper reviews two bodies of work that have sought to understand and influence these interactions with reference to the smartphone. The first is associated with a group of researchers interested in how smartphone apps might help people to engage with their surroundings in beneficial ways. The second comes from a set of scholars hoping to learn from the analysis of the social media datasets associated with smartphone interactions outdoors. After comparing these how these two bodies commonly see the social world, the paper considers how other approaches might augment these endeavours. We argue for more studies that explore what different social groups have to say about life with the smartphone and how norms of technology use emerge. We also suggest that this area of research might engage more fully with wider academic work on how smartphones are reshaping our societies.

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