Smartphones: reading habits and overuse. A qualitative study in Denmark, Lithuania and Spain


  • Valeria Levratto Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
  • Andrius Suminas Vilnius University, Universiteto 3, LT 01513 Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Theresa Schilhab Danish School of Education, Aarhus University
  • Gertrud Esbensen Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Campus Copenhagen,Tuborgvej 164, Dk-2400 Denmark.


Palabras clave:

Reading, smartphones, mobile technology, digital literacy, hypertext

Agencias Financiadoras:

This article is based upon work from COST Action IS1404 E-READ (Evolution of Reading in the Age of Digitisation), supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).


Recently, the smartphone has become the key device in families and
workplaces, changing people’s habits and ways of interaction in our liquid
and hyperconnected societies. Little research has been done on the use
of smartphones for reading, since the telephone was not associated with
reading until very recently. This paper presents an overview of digital mobile
reading in the digital literacy context and tries to answer different research
questions, such as: how do people read on the smartphone? Do people have
an addiction to/misuse of mobiles? Its objective is to offer empirical data
about people’s experiences of digital mobile reading and to analyse how we
depend on our smartphone through a small-scale qualitative study including
different informants from three European capital cities: Copenhagen
(Denmark), Madrid (Spain) and Vilnius (Lithuania).
The paper does not aim to generalise its findings, but to advance the field of digital literacy research, a field in which the meaning (the interviews) has been interpreted in relation to a wider socio-cultural context.
The results report that the “context”, the “time” and the “situation” where
reading is carried out are decisive for understanding; furthermore, the type
of navigation that readers can perform on the smartphone has important
consequences in the reading process, hence, the layout must be well designed
for active and attentive users on mobile devices. Our Informants assert that
situations like boredom, waiting or loneliness can induce the use of the
smartphone. Therefore, more research is needed, in different areas and with
new digital literacy programmes in order to help young people (and adults)
use their mobiles as advantageously as possible.


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Biografía del autor/a

Valeria Levratto, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

PhD, Lecturer in Communication, Faculty of Communication, Rey Juan Carlos University,

Andrius Suminas, Vilnius University, Universiteto 3, LT 01513 Vilnius, Lithuania

PhD, associate profesor, Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University

Theresa Schilhab, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

Dr.pæd. PhD, Associate professor, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Campus Copenhagen,Tuborgvej 164 Dk-2400 Denmark.

Gertrud Esbensen, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Campus Copenhagen,Tuborgvej 164, Dk-2400 Denmark.

PhD, Postdoc, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Campus Copenhagen,Tuborgvej 164, Dk-2400 Denmark.


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