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Friday, 5 January, 2001, 12:04 GMT
Five ways mobiles have changed us
With 40 million mobile phones in the UK, non-phone owners are a shrinking minority. The go-anywhere phone has led to some unexpected changes in our daily lives.

Showing emotions

Can you talk? Can you keep quiet?
Traditional British reserve about not showing emotions in public is thrown into chaos. Being contactable anywhere can be great, but it has its downside. Communications psychologist Guy Fielding has pinpointed real-life dilemmas - eg. You are in a library, your wife rings to tell you she's pregnant, and you want to react appropriately but feel inhibited because of your fellow library users. Both she and they are annoyed by your reaction.

Meeting up

On the other hand, making arrangements and meeting friends is completely revolutionised. No longer do you have to make specific arrangements about times and places - and no longer can they be flung into disarray because one party is going to be late. People can even find their friends in noisy nightclubs where they wouldn't even hear a phone ringing, thanks to text messaging.

Getting out of the box

Some business still thrive in phone boxes
There's been speculation that the growth of mobiles is leading to the eclipse of the good old emergency standby, the phone box. Although there are more than 2 million calls made from UK phone boxes every day, there has been a reduction of up to 40% in the last two years. Some countries are facing the axing of public phones, but for the time being BT is trying to maintain its network of 140,000 boxes. So minimum call charge is now 20p, many kiosks have adverts on the doors, and a new breed of multi-media phone is being introduced.

Don't speak to strangers

On a train and feel a bit like a chat? Wanting to share your frustrations over rail services? Once upon a time you could have met all these needs by talking to the person next to you. But now you need never again even make eye contact with anyone you don't already know.

Knw wht im tkng abt?

Vwls r nw (mr or lss) thng of pst. as r cptls. Pple cn rd all srts of thngs whch only 2 yrs ago wdve lkd lk a bd gm of cntdwn.

NEthng 2 add? e-ml us!

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04 Jan 01 | Business
Mobile phone sales jump
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