Tele-Cocooning: Mobile Texting and Social Scope

Authors


  • Accepted by previous editor Maria Bakardjieva

Abstract

The present study examines the tele-cocooning hypothesis in the context of general trust using a nationally representative survey of Japanese youth. We find that although frequency of texting is positively correlated with general trust, this correlation is spuriously caused by how heavy mobile texters interpret the words “most people” in the general trust measurement. Heavy users assume that “most people” only refers to friends, family, and others going to the same school. When the effect of the “most people” assumption is controlled, the positive association between texting and general trust disappears. Further exploration of the data shows that heavy texting nevertheless has negative implications for social tolerance and social caution, both of which are theoretically proximate to general trust.

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