In the few short decades since their commercial deployment, 5 billion people about three-quarters of all humanity, including children have become mobile phone users. No technology has even approached the mobile phone's wildfire success. Effects of this success are apparent everywhere, ranging from accident scenes and earthquake rescue efforts to demeanor in the classroom and at dinner tables. No one interested in the next generation of issues provoked by the mobile communication revolution will want to miss this important new collection of essays.
The mobile phone has given near-transcendent power to ordinary people. All aspects of social life have been touched by mobile technology. An ever-growing host of tracking, immersion, gaming, and commercial applications are becoming available. The community of mobile communication scholars has blossomed from a handful of pioneers a decade ago to a large and dynamic intellectual community that spans the globe. Area researchers have gained much insight into cultural, symbolic, and social interaction aspects of mobile communication as well as its relevance to commerce.
To address the social policy dimension of the mobile communication revolution, this volume presents analyses by leading thinkers in the field. The volume offers novel and keen insights into the topic. Subjects include the role of mobiles in policy formation and evaluation in several areas including the mobile-digital divide and political campaigns. Also explored are processes and policy implications of mobiles in creating or alleviating social problems including social isolation and family dispersion. Other chapters analyze social policies for mobile devices, including attempts to regulate the use of the technology and to understand and moderate its potential harm to human health. The contributors' scope ranges across five continents and they address concerns at local, national, and international levels.