Sweden’s mobile phone-free day is a relic, but still calls for consideration

Sweden’s mobile phone-free day is a relic, but still calls for consideration
Photo: tatsianama/Depositphotos
Saturday saw Sweden’s annual Mobile-Free Day, an initiative which began in 2002 in an attempt to give people peace and quiet and a break from calls and texts.

But the day has fallen from public awareness in more recent years.

“(Using mobiles) is so integrated into our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean it always will be in future,” said Jonas Engman, ethnologist at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.

Sweden introduced a mobile phone-free day in 2002, encouraging the public to turn off their cells in an effort to protect the general audio environment.

As such, the roots of the day go back to the beginning of the mobile era, in which everybody having a device in their pockets was still a relatively new phenomenon.

Nine out of ten people in Sweden currently own a mobile telephone, according to a 2018 study. Of those, between 88 and 96 percent use their phones daily.

That falls to 74 percent for the 56-65 years age group, and 62 percent for people aged 66-75.

“There’s a discussion in society as to whether it’s beneficial to keep looking at and checking one’s mobile phone all the time. I think it’s part of everyday life for people in urban areas, and that is not actually a problem” Engman said.

Living without a mobile is something most people should be able to do, the researcher said, even if they might not be prepared to take on the challenge without warning — even just for a single day.

“I think there are many people, not just children and young people, but many generations who find it hard to put their phones down. So it’s good that we (still) have this day to highlight this,” he said.

READ ALSO: Five things to remember when getting a mobile phone in Sweden


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