This Study will be carried out to establish the causes and effects of cell phone use among male students at Al Ittihad National School. It will specifically determine the various factors that may cause the use of cell phones among the male students, and how the use can affect the students in the several possible ways ranging from psychological to academic performance.
The study was mainly encouraged by the recent rapid technological advance in the cell phone devices that has made them an integral part of the youth life. There are various features that have been incorporated on cell phone devices have created a near fanatical following among adolescents who are otherwise still struggling with self identity issues.
Previous studies have shown that peer pressure and parental factors play a significant role in the adoption of mobile phone devices by high school going children. Research on mobile phone usage among students has been ongoing for several years in other countries. Several studies have shown that mobile phones can have both positive and negative effects on students.
Positive effects mainly come in the form of improved learning activities, whereby mobile phones can be utilized as tools to access the internet and facilitate the retrieval of learning materials, help organize class activities such as meetings and discussions, and coordinate study groups among the students (Zulkefly & Baharudin, 2009).
Cell phones can also help students to develop social by keeping in touch with their peers and parents. In addition, they enable students to guard themselves by providing a reliable means of soliciting for help during crisis situations.
The negative effects associated with cell phones are many. Different studies analyzed in this paper indicate that cell phone use can be addictive and thus bring with it several psychological effects that affect the student’s performance (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006). The results of this study may confirm the findings of similar studies which have been carried out in other areas.
Cell phones have evolved into important communication tools and therefore becoming an integral part of the society. Populations across the world, consisting of different age groups that include the youth are increasingly using cell phones to keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues and other acquaintances (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006).
Cell phones were first used in United Arab Emirates in 1998 and they were mainly in the hands of elites and professionals. This first generation communication devices were only equipped with basic communication features such as voice calls and later text messages.
Today, cell phone usage has spread among all members of the society including high school students and even pupils in several countries. The current mobile phone is equipped with features that allow more sophisticated communication and entertainment. This include multi media messages, MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) player, games internet, videos and social network applications (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011).
The rapidly increasing technological advance in the cell phone industry has made mobile phones to be very attractive to the youth (Campbell, 2007). Therefore schools and other educational establishments have had a hard time trying to limit the influence of cell phones on their students (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011).
Several studies have indeed shown cell phones to be very popular among the youth, including high school students. Studies conducted in the UAE show that a large proportion of the youth and children own cell phones (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, 2009).
An ICT survey carried out in 2008 showed that up to 67% of students owned mobile phones in the United Arab Emirates (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, 2009).
Initially, school policy was quite prohibitive as students were required to leave their phones at home, turn them of or keep them in the lockers (Zulkefly & Baharudin, 2009). As time went by, schools began to change their policies to allow students to have limited access to mobile phones.
The current use of cell phones by students mainly relates to personal and social purposes. The immense popularity of mobile phones among high school students in the UAE can be attributed to the popularity of prepaid subscriptions and the low cost of mobile handsets (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006).
Owning a cell phone has become a practical necessity, as well as a status symbol for young people who are, as always, struggling with peer pressure and conformity . Cell phones are very much viewed as a fashion accessory by different categories of youth in the UAE.
Researches conducted in regard to the usage of mobile phones among the young generations have revealed that most of them take cell phones to be part and parcel of their daily lives. The increased attention of mobile phones among students has attracted massive research by scholars who are trying to establish how cell phones have impacted on education (Thaden, 2009).
The causes and potential effects of mobile use among high school students in the UAE necessitate more research. This research study will thus seek to establish the reasons why male students at the Al Ittihad National School use mobile phones and the effects that may be associated with the use.
Al Ittihad National School is located in Abu Dhabi and is a private profit making K-10 school (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, 2009). The school offers a US curriculum and has both national and international students mainly from the US (Kolb, 2006).
Statement of the problem/ research questions
Research on cell/mobile phone usage in high schools that has been carried out in other countries reveal positive and negative effects. Although the findings can be applied to have an idea regarding the situation in the UAE, there is a strong need for own research to be conducted so as to establish variations or other findings that may be specific to UAE students.
Indeed previous research has shown that mobile phone usage can have both positive and negative effects to high school students. In UAE, more male students have access to mobile phones when compared to their female counterparts.
It’s important to determine the specific reasons that cause high school students to use mobile phones and the various outcomes that may be associated with this use. The study will be carried out at Al Ittihad School and will specifically try to establish the causes and effects of mobile phone usage among male students.
- What are the causes of mobile phone usage among male students at the Al Ittihad School?
- What are the effects of mobile phone usage among male students at the Al Ittihad School?
Causes of cell phone usage
Cell phone use and addiction among young individuals may be explained using the psychological theory. Erikson described the adolescent stage as a period of identity searching (Campbell, 2007).
Adolescents are always plagued by the experience of trying to understand who they are, the group they belong to and who they would like to be when they get older; they become excessively self conscious and pay much attention to what their peers think of them (Lie, 2004). Studies show that this situation makes them to be more vulnerable to trends that they consider fashionable such as newer and flashy technological devices.
Mobile phones are equipped with different features that make them appeal to the young generation. Previous studies have shown that young cell phone users prefer to use text messaging as opposed to voice calls.
This service may be preferred because it’s cheaper, quick and convenient (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009). Most teenagers have been shown to use text messages so as to achieve a steady coordination between friends and family. The patterns of text messaging are thought to peak anywhere between ages sixteen and twenty four.
Comparative studies carried out to contrast cell phone usage among Japanese and American adolescents showed that a large proportion (69%) of Japanese adolescents preferred to use their mobile phones for texting while up to 40% of the American adolescents favored the game features on their mobile phones (Campbell, 2007).
The Japanese adolescents were also seen to prefer the MP3 features on their mobile phones as compared to other features (Campbell, 2007).
Cell phones are designed to allow effective communication between individuals who are vast distances apart. Adolescents primarily use the mobile phone to communicate to their family members and peers. Several studies have shown that the use of cell phones by teenagers or adolescents to contact their family members are more frequent compared to contacting friends.
Communicating with family members is very important as it enables them to feel secure. This is due to the fact that family members are considered to be the most important people in their lives (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006). In addition, cell phones have been found to be very effective during emergency situations.
Psychologists have identified cell phones to be vital tools of building family relationships as they enable family members to stay in touch even when they are far from one another. The ability of cell phones to offer communication between family members at any time and place makes them an effective replacement of physical contact.
This way parents can remotely assist their children to carry out their responsibilities and reduce anxiety instances (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, 2009). Some Korean schools have begun to offer location monitoring services to help parents identify the location of their children via the cell phone.
Apart from communicating with family members, adolescents use cell phones to regularly contact their peers for chat, gossip and share stories (Kolb, 2006). When used this way, cell phones act as effective tools of improving and maintaining social relationships.
Through research, cell phone use has been linked to various factors. Previous studies have focused on factors such as sex, age and self esteem with mobile phone use (Zulkefly & Baharudin, 2009). There is little research evidence that shows the relationship between cell phone uses by the younger generations and the age of the parents, education and family income.
Male cell phone users are typically attracted by the technical applications and features such as games and MP3 player or video player while females basically use mobile phones for socializing (Zulkefly & Baharudin, 2009).
Studies carried out since 2001 have established that young adult males spent more time on mobile phones as compared to girls (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006). This trend often begins in the late adolescent stage then peaks in the 20s. The high level use may extend to 30s after which it begins to drop significantly (Thaden, 2009).
Researchers have also established that young mobile phone users usually spent appropriate amounts of money on prepaid services. Studies conducted in Europe showed that many of high school students used about 25 Euros a month on mobile phone credit (Wilknson, 2006).
Effects of cell phone Usage
Different studies have shown that younger mobile users are more likely to be addicted therefore they score high on Problem Mobile Phone Use Scale (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009). Adolescents have been found to spend more time with mobile phones for social and emotional communication purposes.
Some studies have shown that a significant number of high school students in the US play video games on their cell phones laptops during class time (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011). However, it’s not clear if this affects academic performance.
Studies carried out to identify the level of self esteem in relation to mobile phone use among adolescents has shown that those with low self esteem use mobile phones more than those with high self esteem (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009).
Individuals with low self esteem use mobile phones more frequently so as to get reassurance from other people. Some studies have used low self esteem to predict problems associated with mobile phone use.
It has been shown that certain problems may arise due to intense use of the mobile phone device for communication purpose. Studies conducted in different countries such as Thailand, Korea and Norway have established that students who involved themselves with intense mobile use were likely to suffer from psychological disturbances (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011).
A study carried out on 595 Korean students established that excessive use of mobile phone among students led to depression, higher interpersonal anxiety and lower self esteem (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009). There are no studies that link these findings to the student’s academic performance.
Use of cell phones by high school students also endangers their lives by making them to be suitable targets for robbers and muggers. Several robbery instances have reportedly involved the taking of a mobile phone. Many youths have reportedly died as a result of being knifed by muggers. Additionally, cell phones are also thought to increase bullying instances among adolescents (Zulkefly & Baharudin, 2009).
In other studies, cell phones have been reported to cause considerable disruption of class activities. A Virginia high school reported that a student ordered for pizza during class time and did not see anything wrong with that (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009).
Other students have involved themselves in queer behaviors such as calling the principal’s home for more than six times in the middle of the night (Campbell, 2007).
Studies carried out by psychologists have reported the ability of mobile phones to affect sleeping patterns among students, especially in addictive cases. Affected students are found to engage in excessive text messaging and often feel anxious when they do not receive replies. This usually takes place at night when they are supposed to be sleeping.
Some scholars have compared internet use to pathological gambling as forms of behavioral addiction (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009). Excessive use of cell phones may also be categorized as an addictive disorder.
Cell phone ownership among students has been the subject of various ongoing researches, arguments and counter arguments. Some scholars have felt that students should be provided with cell phones so that they can use them in crisis situations (Kolb, 2006).
Studies have also shown that students who lack phones may experience a negative feeling of being isolated. Other scholars have rejected phone ownership among students stating that they do not contribute to learning activities (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009).
Several researches have shown that cell phones can be useful gadgets for learning purposes. Internet supported mobile phones may be used to find definitions or reference data on the web.
Mobile phones can also be used by students to connect with teachers and other students and help them deal with class attendance issues, rearrange meetings, retrieve assignment data, discuss assignments, coordinate study groups and seek academic help from teachers and other students (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011).
Conclusion And Recommendations
Just as seen in other studies carried out in various countries, this study will confirm that the use of mobile phone is widespread among male students attending Al Ittihad School.
The study is expected to reveal that male students at the Al Ittihad School use their phones a bit reasonably and appropriately for sending text messages, calling and networking. The most applied functions of the mobile phone are likely to be SMS, social networking then voice calls. These findings should be consistent with those of studies carried out in other countries, especially in Asia.
High school students are typically expected to prefer SMS to calls due to the fact that SMS are cheaper and majority of them have limited financial resources. This makes SMS to be the preferred mode of communication (Wilknson, 2006).
Given the fact that majority of high school students are adolescents, they may be attracted to mobile phones due to features such as MMS, MP3 and video players and internet networking applications such as facebook and twitter (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006).
Previous research findings have shown that boys are more interested in the technological features of a phone as compared to girls. This study may also establish that male students at the Al Ittihad National School use mobile phones partly due to their advanced technological features which they may find fascinating. Personal and family factors may also contribute to the usage of phones by high school students.
The study may reveal that students use their phones more to contact their peers rather than parents and/or teachers (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009). Students in the adolescent category are generally unstable as they are transforming from children to adults. Mobile phone usage may be linked to levels of self esteem.
Students with low self esteem are likely to be addicted to the mobile phone and thus present with various psychological disturbances. Cases of low or high self esteem are come individually and cannot be generalized on a group. In this study, some cases of low self esteem may be established together with the associated problematic mobile phone use.
Students with a low self esteem will desire to seek reassurance from other people on regular basis and thus are likely to use their cell phones more (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006).
Students who end up using their phones more than others are likely to progress into intense cell phone users. The current study is likely to establish that most male students at the Al Ittihad School get fascinated by features on their mobile phones and thus are likely to be more attracted and addicted to their cell phones (Zulkefly & Baharudin, 2009).
This may lead to behaviors associated with problematic cell phone behavior. Further studies into this area may reveal how self esteem and the frequency of mobile phone use can lead to change in social behaviors.
By determining the effect of mobile phone usage among male students at the Al Ittihad School, one is likely to verify that intense use of mobile phones by students can lead to psychological problems (Campbell, 2007).
Students who show with problematic cell phone use may have conditions such as anxiety, depression, or even lack of sleep, which is likely to affect their overall psychological functioning (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009).
The results of this study, if carried out, may concur with the findings of other studies which associate addictive cell phone usage with disorders such as lack of adequate sleep, which may impact a student’s psychological health.
Findings of this such as study may as well reveal the advantages associated with cell phone use.
For instance, they can enhance learning in various ways; cell phones can be used to surf the web and help students to identify important references or definitions, they also form an important link between them and their teachers or other students and this can help increase class attendance issues, scheduling of meetings, retrieving of assignment data and assisting coordination in study groups (Lie, 2004).
The study may also establish some bad habits that may be associated with mobile phone use. Students can involve themselves in exam cheating by communicating with each other while doing tests or use web sources to help answer questions. The study may also reveal that phones cause significant disruption to class activities where some students may pick their phones or make calls during class time (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011).
It’s also important to note that though not many teenagers have access to cars, mobile phones can be a leading cause of death if they are used while driving. Such a finding may be outside the scope of this study due to the limited sample size but it has been observed to occur elsewhere.
Previous researches have compared internet usage with pathological gambling due to the common effect impacted on the user. Current mobile phone devices are loaded with sophisticated features with the ability to carry out several different applications.
This implies that they are more likely to create addictive behavior in the young users. Studies should be formulated to establish the chances of addiction that are associated with more sophisticated devices that are considered to be classy by the youth.
If this study is carried out, the results can reveal that high school students frequently use their devices to watch videos and network on social sites during class time. In this regard a further study will be required to identify the extent to which performance is affected by such activities.
Further research may reveal many other causal factors that exist within the student’s environment that can positively or negatively impact their cell phone behaviors (Moore, Kirchner, Drotar, Johnson, Rosen, & Redline, 2009).
In addition, the specific outcomes of intense mobile phone use can also be explored with the aim of identifying the particular symptoms that may be associated with excessive use of mobile phones among high school students.
Some other studies have shown that mobile phones may affect attention spans, critical thinking skills and respect for learning and teachers (Kawasaki, Tanei, Ogata, Burapadaja, & Loetkham, 2006). These findings have not been verified thus more intense studies should be se up to ascertain the extent to which such effects may affect learning and student performance.
Adequate policies should be formulated to guide the use of cell phones by students. As things are now, authorities lag behind parental and student resistance in regard to the use of mobile phones (Kolb, 2006).
Parents are increasing viewing mobile phones as a lifeline for their children but this should not be allowed to transform into an entitlement thus far research should be done to identify any agreeable solution to this problem (Hakoama & Hakoyama, 2011).
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