Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Horstmanshof, Louise and Power, Mary R. (2005) Mobile phones, SMS, and relationships: issues of access, control, and privacy. Australian Journal of Communication, v.32, no.1, pp. 33-52.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Australian Journal of Communication.
©The School of English, Media Studies, & Art History, The University of Queensland, 2005. All rights reserved.


Text messaging, or SMS (Short-Message-Service), allows users to send and receive short messages from handheld digital mobile phones or from a computer to a mobile phone, giving almost instant access to others so connected. The privacy and immediacy of SMS and its widespread use have implications for human behaviour and social intercourse. The focus-group research with SMS users reported in this paper provides rich details and nuances of how text messaging affects young adults' patterns of communication and social behaviour. The paper goes beyond documenting commonly held beliefs about young adults' use of SMS- that it is prevalent and used for coordination - to probe issues of privacy, control of access, the dilemma of availability, and gender differences in use. The paper examines the way SMS messages are used not only for the content of the messages per se, but for the sense of being in social (phatic) contact with others.



This document has been peer reviewed.


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