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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Do you depend on your mobile phone?
We are more reliant than ever on our mobile phones according to research carried out by Surrey University.

The study investigated how mobile phone callers in London, Paris and Madrid used their phones in public.

It discovered that while Londoners create invisible mobile phone booths, Parisians tend to talk in the middle of the pavement and people from Madrid like to share their phone with friends.

The research team led by Dr Amparo Lasen also discovered that people living in all three cities could not imagine living without their mobile phones.

Do you depend on your mobile phone? Send us your story. If you have taken any photos of yourself with your phone send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

An absolute godsend for deaf people
Chris Dougal, London, UK
As I've been deaf since birth, I find using a mobile phone an extremely useful tool. You see, in the past, whenever I wanted to chat to my deaf friends by phone, I used a minicom (a typewriter-like machine which allows users to type in messages over the line to the other end) and it was useless and unreliable as I could only use it at home! So when mobile phones came along, it was an absolute godsend for deaf people in general! Nowadays, through text messages (and picture messages!), we just can't live without mobile phones as we can now communicate to each other anywhere and anytime!
Chris Dougal, London, UK

People can live without their mobies, mankind did for thousands of years before they were invented so they can't be that necessary. I send on average 1 SMS a day to say good morning to my girlfriend and don't generally make any calls on it. I could quite easily live without mine.
Andy, Brighton, UK

My most magical moment was to witness an angry fellow train passenger snatch a phone from a loud talking caller and chuck it out of the window. When confronted by the outraged ex-mobile owner, he produced a cheque book and wrote out a cheque to the value of the 'phone, commenting, "If that's what it costs to shut you up, then it was easily worth it!" Several people in the carriage cheered, including me.
Ed, Aberdeen, Scotland

I use my mobile all the time for work because I can play games under the desk and no-one can see me.
Tim, UK

I am a teleworking programmer and without my mobile I would certainly not have the freedom to work wherever there is an internet connection. Without the mobile I would have to call into the office to register my location, or remain fixed permanently. Simply put I am a lot freer, work wise, with my mobile.
Michael Bond, Cologne, Germany (ex-UK)

I don't have one, don't want one - what will happen to everyone who has a phone when the results of the long term study into side effects is announced? If they are bad for your health (as I suspect they are) are people going to get rid of them?
Clifford Gisby, Norwich, UK

The most annoying are the business men who feel a need to roar business jargon at their phones
Jim, Dublin

I used to enjoy the train journey from my place of work to home. Now it has become intolerable with constant mobile phone ringing (each ring tone different - you know people expressing their individuality through their ring tones - sad really.) The most annoying are the business men who feel a need to roar business jargon at their phones but will complain that they don't get a minute to themselves. My advice; stop making the calls... do something constructive; read a book, pick your nose but for all our sakes please shut up!
Jim, Dublin, Ireland

The use of mobiles in Paris is truly a pernicious plague. After almost nine years living here, I'm convinced that Parisians are far from being the smartest people on earth, and their lack of intelligence has been dangerously aggravated by their addiction to mobiles: in cinemas, in the streets, in the Metro... everywhere at any time you can see them with that expression of absence talking pure rubbish on the "appareil". Well, God bless them.
VS, Paris, France

I depend on it to wake me up! I use it more as my alarm clock that I probably do to make calls.
Tane Piper, Edinburgh

I can't leave the house without my mobile phone. I find it an unhealthy habit.
Amy Marimuthu, Erfurt, Germany

Is there any good reason why it is so fashionable to dislike mobile phones? It's a tool and a very useful one. It seems to me, that in a desperate bid to prove their independence from the machine people have forgotten that mobile phones are used by normal people for various valid reasons. Looking down on their uses and constantly harping on about how good life was before its rise in popularity is extremely arrogant. You don't want one don't get one; don't expect anyone to apologise for using their own. Saying that, the D carriage on GNER trains is the silent coach to all you mobile phone users. If you got to take the call leave the coach, it's not polite. As for me, I need my phone, but if I forget it at home I have voicemail, most things can wait.
K, Edinburgh, UK

I was taken aback by a youngsters comment on my wearing my mobile phone on my belt as being, "So Nineties!". I suspect that the real reason people hold their phones is so they are not stolen!
Neil, Hants, UK

I did not realise how much I relied on my mobile
Adrian, Altrincham
I am currently on a business trip to Asia and on Monday I lost my mobile phone in China. That meant I had very little contact with home or the office for days until I reached Hong Kong. Also I could not retrieve my e-mails as I used my card to connect to the internet with my lap top. Until this happened, I did not realise how much I relied on my mobile. As a final insult I have lost 8 years worth of irreplaceable numbers, including the rather attractive girl I met out here and was meant to go out with for a drink with tonight.
Adrian, Altrincham

I detest the things. People have become slaves to them, and the public "mobile phone shouting" has become an epidemic. I think I'll keep my freedom, thank you.
William, Paris, France

In the future we will all have mobile phone implants.
Paolo Sammut, St Albans

It's alarm clock, it's a calendar, it's a to-do list, it's an address book, it's a remote dial-in to work, it's my way of keeping touch with everyone I know. Why would I want to live without it?
Richard, Worthing, UK

I have 3 of the beasts. Try leaving your mobile phone at home for a day, it is a wonderful feeling. I do that once a month, just to relax. Otherwise, no I can't be without one as work depends on it.
Khalid, Birmingham, UK

I threw my phone in the Thames when I retired and don't miss it
Phil Day, London, England
Mobile phones continue to be an invasion of space in cafes, restaurants, shops, trains, buses etc. People are rude and too loud on their phones. Weaving in traffic or slowing down for no clear reason is always an indication someone is using their phone. I threw my phone in the Thames when I retired and don't miss it.
Phil Day, London, England

Here in Japan no-one talks on the mobile 'phone any more - instead they stare at it and rapidly use their thumbs to send text messages, which are far cheaper than actual talking. Thus many people of all ages (tho' mainly the young) are walking, cycling, even driving, while staring at their mobile 'phones (in complete silence!). The silence is welcome, and apart from the much greater potential of accidents, this is how it is. I still haven't got one myself, I'd rather be away from the 'phone....
Bob Ridge, Tokyo, Japan (UK ex-patriot)

Well it makes rounding the mates up for the weekend down the pub easy!!
Paul, Bournemouth

I lost my mobile phone in a black cab coming back from a party late on Saturday evening (or should I say Sunday morning). Still waiting for my replacement to arrive. Not everyone can get hold of me 24/7 at the moment. I thought that I would be climbing the walls in frustration by now, but not so! I feel strangely liberated..
Mampele, London/South Africa

As a working single mum with very few friends living locally, I find having a mobile is essential in case anything happened to my son at school, after-school club or while with a baby-sitter. I hardly use the mobile for anything else.
Maria, Nottingham

The mobile phone is a device that enfeebles rather than enables
Steve, Leeds, UK
I won't easily forget the pitiful sight of a man at the deli counter in Sainsbury's bleating over his mobile, "What cheese shall I buy?" For God's sake, man, make an executive decision! The mobile phone is a device that enfeebles rather than enables: that creates dependency instead of independence.
Steve, Leeds, UK

I was one of the first at work to accept a free mobile phone. My colleague has point blank refused to have one for years. I am the one who gets phoned and dragged in to work during a crisis at a moment's notice, day or night. He has not had a sleepless night in over 6 years. Which one of us the smarter guy?
Dean, Sheffield, UK

Most jobs can be done without a mobile - and were for decades - often more efficiently. People want instant gratification these days and so mobiles are 'needed'. Aside from obvious recreational, life saving and emergency situations a mobile phone is actually just a gadget that destroys your privacy and reduces the time you have to yourself. I have learnt that apart from being able to never 'lose' my wife in a shopping mall or at an event my mobile is simply another way my employers can keep me working outside of my contracted hours...
N. Lowe, Bedfordshire

People think you should make yourself contactable for the most trivial of things
Deb, Leics, UK
I'm in two minds about mobile phones and was very reluctant to purchase one myself. I see them as intrusive because as soon as you own one people think you should make yourself contactable for the most trivial of things 24 hours a day. Trying to have a conversation with somebody who is constantly texting other people and has only half a mind on your conversation is downright annoying. Having to listen to people's shouted conversations everywhere I go sometimes irritates me intensely. But after breaking down on a very fast dual carriageway in the middle of nowhere on a stormy winter's night I realised that I might not have 'lived' without my mobile. And having a very elderly father who knows he can contact me at any time when he feels vulnerable or ill makes it worth its weight in gold.
Deb, Leics, UK

8 years ago I demanded that a mobile phone was written into my work contract. Now I demand the opposite. Being unreachable for at least a few hours a day is an essential part of keeping my sanity.
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex UK)

My mobile admittedly goes everywhere with me... but those times when I have been caught in the ladies, or having a much needed nap on a Sunday afternoon I seriously query having one. Some people get affronted and annoyed if your phone isn't on and they cannot reach you at their convenience. Who said 'all women liked talking on the phone'...???
Jennifer, London, UK

We perceive that we need to be contactable at any time of day or night
David, Indonesia/UK
My kids are in boarding school in the UK and SMS messaging is my only daily contact with them. I now carry 2 phones, one business and one personal. We convince ourselves they are our lifeline. However, we all seemed to manage fine without them in the past. There is certainly an over-reliance on these devices. We perceive that we need to be contactable at any time of day or night, the truth is that nothing is ever really that urgent. Or is it we just want to feel wanted?
David, Indonesia/UK

Methinks some people forget that businesses and society somehow managed to "get by" before mobile phones. Do I depend on my mobile? The most frequently used button is the off one and I tell people that it means I am not available to take their calls - it's amazing how many calls can wait till later...
Ajana Zabel, Singapore, ex-UK

No. I use amateur radio. I find it more reliable than the cell phone service.
Frank Stone, Baltimore, USA

Don't have one, don't want one! I do however miss the days when you could sit on a train without having to listen to other people's conversations as they bellow into a phone.
Phil, Newcastle, UK

I can't even go out without my mobile phone. The first thing I do every day when I wake up is to check my mobile phone for messages and... it's the last thing I do before sleeping. I can't live without it, it's that simple.
Ben, Toronto

In Japan children as young as six have phones
Heather Dawick, Amagasaki, Japan
It's a modern luxury and I often wonder how I got by without it. It's so much easier to keep in touch with friends. My point is that you can get by without them, like a lot of things, but they do make life that little bit easier. In Japan children as young as six have phones and this is common and when I asked my students how long they spent on their phones they would say 3 to 4 hours a day. I couldn't believe it. Its amazing how addictive they become.
Heather Dawick, Amagasaki, Japan

Before coming to the USA I used a "Brick" mobile for work in the concrete industry and found that it was useful but not necessary. Once over here, I purchased a mobile phone partly because my business was selling the phones! Now, several years later, I use the phone for work and to inform my family how I am fairing on the freeway system. I use the camera feature rarely, the text messaging even less, and I still feel it is a non-essential item. With the introduction of voice over internet, the free (well almost) long distance calls I get on my mobile are less attractive.
Christopher J. Burdett, Los Angeles, USA

I forget. How did we manage without mobiles?
Maurice Achach, Nairobi, Kenya

One of the worst feelings that I experience is when I realise that I have left my mobile phone at home. My phone connects me with many aspects of my life: my children, work, friends, family, and so on. I can call my brother to let him know that we are coming over to dinner next Friday night instead of waiting to get home to call. It allows me to save time by bringing my world to the NOW.
Michael, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Obviously they are waiting for an important message from God
Cesar, UK
An instrument of enslavement and the equivalent of the medieval ball and chain. I use one very, very rarely, mainly to call out and for family use, but I never give to business and office associates who will most certainly abuse it by calling at all hours of the day and night. Nice fashion accessory and useful toy. Excellent tool to broadcast your importance (just listen to people shouting at their Bluetooth headset in Heathrow). I fly on a weekly basis and I am constantly amazed how eager other passengers are to switch on the second the plane lands, obviously they are waiting for an important message from God. Does the Queen use one?
Cesar, UK

I work for a mobile network as an account administrator. Part of my job is to study people's bills and give them itemised bills if requested. Customers that spent at least an hour a day phoning people and send 20 texts always dispute their bill. The more you use their phone the more you spend. Daft isn't it!!!
Helen, UK

Before the advent of mobile phones I spent thirty years at work carrying a radio for instant contact. Now I only switch on a mobile phone to use it. If I am out of contact with people that's tough. I managed 50 years without a mobile phone, and I reckon I can manage a few dozen more. I don't have a photo of me using a mobile phone, that would be too sad for words! But then I do have a life.
Barry P, Havant England

I am totally dependent on my mobile phone. Actually I own two of them and so do my father, my sister and a lot of friends. We have one for work and one for friends, but we usually carry both. Moreover, I work in a mobile telecommunications company where everyone uses their mobile phones instead of their office phones.
A, Athens, Greece

My mobile phone is like an extension of my body, I rely on it heavily for school and work, which is what I do 2/3 of the day. It sounds crazy but mobile phones are as good as the next meal or the air that we breathe for many nowadays.
Cesar Fabunan, Quezon City, Philippines

I was among the last in my class to acquire a mobile phone last year (the last one to be precise). I thought I could survive without it - but no way! I was totally wrong. Though I didn't want it in the fast place, I now need it to communicate with my friends and without it I would be out-of-touch.
Suleiman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I only use my phone once or twice a day but feel that life would certainly be more difficult to manage and coordinate without it. Starting work at 6:30 am and attending university in the evenings means that I can be out of the house for up to 15 hours at a time - how else can family and friends contact me? Friends who don't carry a mobile say they have no need for one but then borrow mine to tell their partner they'll be late home from the pub! Next topic - can you live without the internet?
Steve, Edinburgh

I am a journalist and a broadcaster. A cell phone is fine as long as you confine yourself to urban areas. However, what do you do in the wilderness (forests, deserts, jungles, mountains, where cellular networks do not exist? I, personally, and many of my colleagues find ourselves relying more and more on global satellite phones. They're still expensive but simply irreplaceable!
Mirek Kondracki, Washington DC, USA

Its turned off until I want to use it!
John, Sidcup, UK

My teens think they can't function without their phones and are totally addicted to text messaging. One friend of my son's recently went so far as to miss her cue to come on stage during a community theatre performance she was in because her phone started to vibrate and she just had to pick it up to see who was calling.
Lee, NY, USA

I have had the same number for over 10 years despite moving house 6 times to various parts of the country for work. I have lost count of the number of people who have it for social and business purposes. I would be lost without it!
Duncan, Salisbury, UK

It's a security blanket for me
Lucy, Oxford, UK
I could live without it, but I can't remember how I managed without. It's a security blanket for me, meaning I'm never far from my fiancÚ, the police or an ambulance should I need any of them.
Lucy, Oxford, UK

Not at all. In fact I don't even own one. A few minutes of peace and quiet in my life is well worth the "inconvenience".
Sallie, Portland, USUSA

I'm a very light mobile user but I wouldn't want to be without my mobile. It's useful to be able to call ahead to let people I'm meeting know my train is delayed, to let people know I'm on the way and so on. It's also useful for peace of mind, knowing that if I were caught up in a disaster I could phone to let people know I was OK.
John B, UK

I certainly depend on it. I don't have a land line anymore, and really see no reason to ever have one again.
Vickey Ohm, South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

It sure beats having to dig for change to use a pay phone
Kris, USA
A few years ago I thought cell phones were a luxury. Now I will be the first to say its a necessity. Its the best way to keep in touch with friends, families and co-workers. Its also a plus for emergencies and it sure beats having to dig for change to use a pay phone!
Kris, USA

I do not have a mobile phone despite being badgered to have one by my children and work colleagues. I find the arguments posed spurious to say the least. Most mobile phones are used to announce that people are on the train, would like to be picked up by car or to determine what dinner should be eaten that evening.
Tony, Welling, Kent

I work in IT and have to be on 24-7 callout - something made possible by mobile phones. It is 22:25 and I've just heard I may have to go into work to sort out a problem. I don't have a car, public transport is about to grind to a halt, and my company took away my cab charge card in a cost-cutting exercise. Could I live without a mobile? What do you think?
R, London, England

My mobile phone is becoming essential to organise my domestic schedule and parental responsibilities given an increasingly intensive schedule. In particular, my wife and I - being working parents - have greater peace of my mind knowing that we can track our 6 year old daughter during the day and are easily accessible should the need arise.
Adrian, Floriana, Malta

I certainly cannot do what I am currently doing without a mobile phone. It has enabled me to start my own business as a freelance interpreter and translator, and my clients can reach me almost any time, anywhere, even when I'm on holiday abroad. I can't tell you how much business I've got through the mobile, via telephone calls, text messages as well as e-mails.
Deborah Chan, London, UK

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22 Jul 04  |  Technology

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