Mobile phone use raises concerns

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Nearly half of all Norwegians fear they’re becoming slaves to their mobile phones. Fully 42 percent now think they already use their phones far too often, according to a new survey, while 63 percent of them are actively trying to cut back on use and learn how to put their phones away.

It’s as common to see Norwegians staring at their mobile phones as those elsewhere in the world. New numbers indicate mobile phone use is getting out of hand. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

News bureau NTB reports that the survey, carried out by consulting firm Deloitte, also found that 52 percent of Norwegians questioned have experienced negative consequences of their own mobile phone use. It’s become like an addiction for some, with 25 percent admitting that they feel they have to check their phones all the time for any messages, email or news they shouldn’t miss. Just as many responded that their phones distract them when they’re trying to get something done.

Another new survey, conducted by research firm Kantar TNS for state power distributor Statnett, found that 20 percent of Norwegians under age 30 spend between five and eight hours a day using their mobile phones.

There are sharp contrasts between the youngest and oldest Norwegians surveyed. More than half of those over 60 use their phones less than an hour a day. Very few use them more than three to four hours a day.

Mathilde Tybring-Gjedde, a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party, thinks it’s time for all Norwegian schools to consider bans on mobile phones during class hours. Several schools already demand that students turn in their phones before class begins.

“These numbers should ring some alarms and wake up all of those who’ve been opposed to mobile-free schools,” Tybring-Gjedde told radio station P4. “We should discuss what we can do to reduce mobile phone use.”

She stressed that parents bear the greatest responsibility for teaching their children how to detach themselves from their phones, even though they may set good examples themselves. Schools, she stressed, must at the very least have clear rules for mobile phone use.

Parents, however, have been roundly criticized in Norwegian media lately for all but ignoring their children while they’re preoccupied with their mobile phone screens themselves.  One father admitted to newspaper Aftenposten how he accompanied his young son to a football match but missed seeing him score a goal, because he was busy checking his phone.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund