Mobile Phone and Academic Performance of Andhra Youth

Prof.T. Tripura Sundari*

Abstract

This study attempts to examine the extent of use of mobile phone and its influence on the academic performance of the students. A face to face survey using structure questionnaire was the method used to elicit the opinions of students in the age group of 18-25 years in three cities in all the three regions of Andhra Pradesh. The survey was administered among 1200 young adults through two stage random sampling to select the colleges and respondents from the selected colleges, with 400 from each city. In Hyderabad, 201 males and 199 females participated in the survey. In Visakhapatnam, 192 males and 208 females participated. In Tirupati, 220 males and 180 females completed the survey. Two criteria were taken into consideration while choosing the participants for the survey. The participants are college-going and mobile phone users. Each of the survey response was entered and analyzed using SPSS software. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS – 16) had been used to work out the distribution of samples in terms of percentages for each specified parameter.

India is young. Nearly half of all Indians are under 30 years of age that is 550 million youth which is equivalent of Western Europe and the USA together. India appears to be in the forefront of the developing markets for mobile phone (and data) services to young people. Surveys and studies from a number of countries indicate that the use of mobile phones by young people is increasing rapidly and starting at a younger age. According to the Wireless World Forum, a research consultancy, the number of young people using mobile voice and data services in the Asia Pacific region will more than double from 71-million in 2004 to 151-million in 2007. India’s mobile youth market will grow 300 percent from 2005 through 2007, from 8.3-million to 27.6-million people. This means India will account for 18.3 percent of this large and growing market. India’s young people spent US $437-million on mobile telephone services in 2004 and US $856-million in 2005. And by 2007 this expenditure was almost triple to $ 2.5-billion.

In India every household item is social. The mobile is the only item which qualifies to become the first personal, protected and private item of possession. It gives a great high to anyone to own such personal and private item. Ease and early adoption is another significant merit of mobile phone. The unprecedented growth of affordability and coverage of mobile telephony services and its increasing importance as a means of two way communication are responsible for the rapid expansion of mobile telephony all over the world.

Studies have proven that rampant use of social networking, texting and chatting on mobile phones result in lower grades and poor academic performance of students. While people of various ages find mobile phones convenient and useful, younger generations tend to appreciate them more and be more dependent on them. The researches have proven that some students have the habit of keeping their mobile phones turned on during classes and studies, even in the library, thereby distracting others. In this context the study focused on finding the influence of mobile phone use on academic performance of students.

Literature Review

Aoki and Downes (2004) focused on the behavioral and psychological aspects of cell phone usage among college students. They tried to find why a technology is adopted in a particular way. They identified several attitudinal factors based on the exploratory study including, necessity in modern times, cost efficiency when compared to landline phone, safety or security, and dependency. The study also endeavored to look at the motivational and behavioral characteristics of mobile phone usage. The motivational themes identified by the study include personal safety, financial incentive, information access, social interaction, parental contacts, time management/coordination, dependency, image, and privacy management. The results of the focus group interviews indicated five distinct user groups in terms of their attitudes toward their cell phone usage and in terms of the levels of integrating cell phones into their lives. Aoki and Downes (2002) enumerate the groups as the cost-conscious group, safety/security conscious, dependent, sophisticated, and practical users. The cost-conscious users believe that a mobile phone helps them save money. The safety/security conscious users are cognizant of their own security and having a cell phone gives them a feeling of security. The dependent user is a person who is reliant on his/her phone and feels disconnected to the world without one. The sophisticated users have had their phones for the longest time and feel it is absolutely a necessity for functioning in the world. The practical user believes a mobile phone gives cost saving, safety benefits, and time efficiency. This study serves as a valuable guideline on how questionnaires focusing on mobile phone use may be designed by using focus interviews.

The global nature of mobile technologies makes the cross-cultural study of the behavioral characteristics of mobile phone usage a topic of current interest. Venkatesh (1995) noted that consumer behaviors are primarily socio-cultural phenomena that must, therefore, be discussed in socio-cultural terms. He emphasized cross-cultural studies should include at least two different cultures as part of the same field study, although it is possible to conduct a comparative study using a single cultural setting and make comparisons with other cultures using textual information rather than field data. He also explained that cross-cultural studies may incorporate cross-national comparisons which studies variables that are objective measures that need no cross-cultural translation. Studies in the realm of mobile phone technologies are only recently starting to appear. Issac, Nickerson, and Tarasewich (2004) studied cell phone usage in social settings in two developed countries – the United States and France. Their research focused on the cell phones used in social settings, the perception of the acceptable use of mobile phones in social settings. The researchers explained that some of the differences may be attributed to cultural and legal differences between these countries, other factors such as age or the length of time that someone has used a cell phone may be important.

Carlson, Kahn, and Rowe (1999) studied the organizational behavior aspect by observing the impact of mobile phones on decision making in sales forces within organizations in the United States and France. They compared the differences in sales force behavior. Correlations were conducted to determine whether the country, length of time the technology has been used, or their interactions were the major effect. Their study showed that new technology adoption was responsible for a shortening of decision making time in both countries. On the other hand, differences in standardization, formalization and decision making time were identified. The results of the study indicated that cultural differences between countries accounted for most of the differences. Hofvenschiold (2003) studied the effect of cultural background and occupational status on the way people interact and perceive technology. She surveyed university students and young professionals from Germany and the United Kingdom to study the attitude to and the use of cell phones. Differences in attitudes were measurable when emotional and motivational aspects of mobile phone use were explored.

Castells, Mireia, Qiu, and Sey (2004) produced a detailed compilation of existing research evidence of the social aspects of wireless communication technologies including mobile phones. They indicated cultural differences in communication style preferences had an impact on the adoption rates of wireless technologies. The researchers intended to elicit general patterns for the social differentiation of wireless diffusion in different societies of Europe, America, and the Asia Pacific region. They cite numerous studies indicating that text messaging is more prevalent among the youth across countries. Other findings include the high incidence of phone-borrowing in parts of Europe; impact on trip planning in travelers and mobile workers; popularity of mobile internet in Japan; mobile phone as extension of personal identity in Japan; and usage of phones for communication and as status symbols by migrant workers in China. Castells, Mireia, Qiu, and Sey (2004) extensively looked into the rise of the mobile youth in a cross-cultural perspective. Their stated hypothesis was that “there is a youth culture that finds in mobile communication an adequate form of expression and reinforcement.” They indicate that much of the research into this youth culture has focused on Europe. The researchers cite evidence for the emergence of collective identity resulting from peer-grouping based on networked sociability. They examine evidence in the United States where owning a mobile phone for a teenager has become a rite of passage. This compilation brings up a wide variety of unique culture attributes for each of the countries or regions studied. However, there is little by way of direct cross-cultural comparison for specific demographic segments.

The literature review shows that the usage of mobile phone technology has a significant societal influence. The ubiquitous and always-connected nature of the technology is shaping attitudinal changes regarding public and private space of mobile phone users. The importance of this area and the study of the behavioral characteristics involved are being just realized. However, relatively few studies are available which look at this issue from a cross-cultural perspective, especially the youth segment of the mobile phone user market.

Data Analysis

Weight 0 4 3 2 1 Weighted Sum Priority
Rank Not taking to college 1 2 3 4
Sending SMS in class 115 613 319 76 77 2729 1
Reading SMS in Class 115 428 461 135 61 2570 2
Answering a voice call in class 115 263 92 563 167 1968 3
Making a voice call in class 115 213 101 147 624 1556 4

Mobile phones in class rooms

In response to the question asking the purpose for using cell phone in classroom, the respondents revealed that they send SMS from classrooms as top order priority and read SMS received. They tend to also answer voice calls and make voice calls as well from the classroom.

Rules on Mobile use in College

Majority (42.1%) of respondents agreed that they should not use mobile phones on college premises. 30.7% of respondents said that they should not use mobiles in classrooms. But 23.9% of respondents said that there are no rules in their colleges.

Opinion to have rules for mobile phone use in colleges

A clear majority (57.6%) of respondents opined that they should have rules for mobile phone usage in colleges and 42.4% negated the opinion.

Impact of mobile phone use on learning

The impact of mobile phone on student learning is examined in a five-point Likert scale. Majority (42.1%) of respondents revealed that the frequent use of mobile phone sometimes interferes with their learning whereas 36.4% agree that it also assists them in learning sometimes. 31.6% of the respondents are of the opinion that the calls/messages received in the classroom impact their ability to concentrate sometimes and 11.2% said it happens to them always. 33.9% said that the use of mobile during their study time distracts them sometimes and 37.4% said it also assists them in learning. The results give a balanced opinion for or against the use of mobile phone on learning and their study.

Positive effects of mobile phone on learning achievements

Mobile phone is also helpful for the students for exchanging useful information with their classmates about their studies. Students use this fascinating device also in better ways. Some of the studies proved that this technology has increased the academic performance. In this context the study tried to find out the positive effects on learning achievements of youth. A majority (53.7%) agreed that they can easily contact the teachers for study purposes. 19.6% strongly agreed that they contact the teachers for this purpose. 47.3% of respondents agreed that they can easily contact their classmates for help in studies. 39.3% agreed that their academic performance has improved due to mobile technology whereas 31.1% disagreed. 38.2% agreed that mobile phone has helped to increase the level of quality of education whereas 33.1% disagreed. 41.6% agreed that teachers use mobiles in class rooms. Majority (46.2%) use it as dictionary/thesaurus/calculator in class rooms and 20.4% strongly agreed.

Negative effects of mobile phone on learning achievements

A majority (35.9%) keep their mobile phones turned on and the ring tone disturbs the class and 24.7% are in strong agreement. 44.2% disagreed with the statement that they purchased their mobile phone without the permission of their parents, but 27.1% agreed and 5.9% strongly agreed. 42.7% disagreed that they send missed calls to class fellows to disturb the class, but 19% agreed. 49% disagreed that they waste their time sending/writing SMS during class work, but 20.3% agreed. 39% disagreed that mobile phone has put negative impact on students’ moral values, but 29.2% agreed. 33.1% disagreed that mobile phone is a waste of time for students, but considerably 31.4% agreed. 30% disagreed to use mobile phone in examination hall as a source of unfair means, 27.6% agreed, 8.4% strongly agreed. 35% disagreed to the statement that students tease fellow mates by sending missed calls through unknown numbers but 20.2% agreed. Given the pervasiveness of cell phones and the acceptability of their use almost anywhere these days, it’s difficult to imagine successfully enforcing almost any policy in the classroom and still having time left to teach.

Influence of gender on learning skills by mobile use

It is evident from the above table that there is a significant relationship between gender and the learning skills by using mobile phone. It is highly evident among males (37.6%) and is low among females (30.7%).

Influence of age on learning skills by mobile use

The data in the above table indicates that there is a significant relationship between age group of respondents on learning skills by mobile use. This tendency is high (31.3%) and moderate (49.3%) among respondents in the 25-28 year age group and is low among those in the 21-25 year (32.5%) age group.

Influence of education on learning skills by mobile use

There is a significant relationship between education and learning skills of respondents through mobile use. It is highly observable among those who have professional (40.9%) and low among those who have SSC/HSC degrees.

Influence of size of family on learning skills by mobile use

There is a significant influence of family size on the learning skills of respondents. It is high (33.6%) among those who belong to families of four to eight members and less among those (27.4%) who belong to families below 4 members.

Influence of monthly income on learning skills by mobile use

The above table indicates that there is a significant relationship between monthly income and the learning skills by the use of mobile phone. Mobile is of more help for learning process to those respondents (35.2%) who have monthly income in the Rs.10000-30000 bracket. It is of less help for those (32.6%) who have income below Rs.10000.

Influence of living style on learning skills by mobile use

There is a significant association between living style of respondents and the learning skills acquired by the use of mobile phone. It is high among those respondents (35.3%) who live in hostels and with friends (34.8%) than those who stay alone (30.4%).

Conclusion

Many research studies all over the world reported that rampant use of social networking, texting and chatting on mobile phones result in lower grades and poor academic performance of students. In this context, the study focused on finding the influence of mobile phone use on learning skills acquired of students. There is a significant relationship between gender and the learning skills by using mobile phone. It is highly evident among males (37.6%) and is low among females (30.7%). There is a significant relationship between age group of respondents on learning skills by mobile use. This tendency is noticeably high (31.3%) and moderate (49.3%) among respondents in the 25-28 years of age group and low among those of 21-25 years (32.5%). There is a significant relationship between education and learning skills of respondents through mobile use. It is high among those who have professional (40.9%) and low among those who have SSC/HSC degrees. There is a significant influence of family size on the learning skills of respondents. It is high (33.6%) among those who belong to families of four to eight members and less among those (27.4%) who belong to families below four members. There is a significant relationship between monthly income and the learning skills by the use of mobile phone. Mobile is more helpful in the learning process of those respondents (35.2%) who have monthly income between Rs.10000 and Rs 30000. There is a significant association between living styles of respondents and the learning skills acquired by the use of mobile phone. It is high among those respondents (35.3%) who live in hostels and with friends (34.8%) than those who stay alone (30.4%).

The respondents revealed that they send SMS from classrooms as top priority and read the SMS received. They tend to also answer a voice call and make a voice call as well from the class room. Majority (42.1%) of respondents agreed that they should not use mobile phones on college premises. 30.7% of respondents said that they should not use mobiles in class rooms. But 23.9% of respondents said that there are no rules in their colleges. A clear majority (57.6%) of respondents opined that they should have rules for mobile phone usage in colleges and 42.4% negated the opinion. Majority (42.1%) of respondents revealed that the frequent use of mobile phone sometimes interferes with their learning whereas 36.4% are of the agreement that it also assists them in learning sometimes. The results give a balanced opinion for or against the use of mobile phone on learning and their study.

Mobile phone is also helpful for the students for exchanging useful information with their classmates about their studies. Students use it in many better ways also. A majority (53.7%) agreed that they can easily contact the teachers for study purposes. 47.3% of respondents agreed that they can easily contact their classmates for help in studies. 39.3% agreed that their academic performance has been improved due to mobile technology. 38.2% agreed that mobile phone has helped to increase the level of quality of education. A majority (35.9%) is in agreement that they keep their mobile phones on and the ring tone disturbs the class and 24.7% are in strong agreement. 44.2% disagreed with the statement that they purchased their mobile phone without the permission of their parents, but 27.1% agreed and 5.9% strongly agreed. 33.1% disagreed that mobile phone is a waste of time for students, but considerably 31.4% agreed. 30% disagreed to use mobile phone in examination hall as a source of unfair means, 27.6% agreed, 8.4% strongly agreed. 35% disagreed to the statement that students tease fellow mates by sending missed calls through unknown members, but 20.2% agreed.

References

  • Ahmed, Z (2004). Youth drives India’s mobile phone revolution. Retreived from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3585257.stm.
  • An investigation of mobile phone use: A socio-technical approach. Socio technical Systems in Industry, Summar Session 2001.Department of Industrial Engineering.University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved October 10, 2005 from http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~granger/IE449/IE449_0108.pdf.
  • Aoki, K., Downes, E. J. (2004). Analysis of young people’s use of and attitudes towards cell phones. Telematics and Informatics, Vol.20(4), pg. 349-364.
  • Dimmick, J., Sikand, J., Patterson, S., (1994). The gratifications of the house hold telephone: Sociability, instrumentality and reassurance. Communication Research, 21(5), 643-663.
  • Donner, J. (2007). The Rules of Beeping: Exchanging Messages Via Intentional “Missed Calls” on Mobile Phones. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13 (1).
  • Donner, J. (2009). Mobile media on low-cost handsets: The resiliency of text messaging among small enterprises in India (and beyond). In G. Goggin and L. Hjorth (Eds.) Mobile technologies: from telecommunications to media. (pp. 93-104). New York and London: Routledge.
  • Donner, J. and C. Tellez. (2008). Mobile banking and economic development: Linking adoption, impact, and use. Asian Journal of Communication, 18 (4): 318-332.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close