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The Impact of Mobile Phones on social Interaction

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Impact of Mobile Phones on social Interaction Marwan Nawaz ABSTRACT This dissertation attempts to understand the reasons behind the growth of mobile phones and the impact of this growth on social interaction. In order to achieve this aim, the study looks at two separate communities. It firstly looks at the impact the mobile phones have had on the social interaction of the general public, and secondly it take a more concentrated look at the subject by studying the impact on the 13-18 year old community. This aim was achieved through the use of questionnaires, a focus group and a literature search. The questionnaires were conducted on both the general public and 13-18 year old community. Similarly, the focus group was also conducted on the 13-18 year old community to gain a deeper understanding of the questionnaire results. Analyses of these questionnaires and focus group, combined with the literature search form a major part of the project. Findings suggest that there is no single reason behind the growth of mobile phones and different factors hold varying levels of importance depending upon geographical, economic, political and social factors. Similarly, whilst mobile phones have had both a positive and negative effect on social interaction, it may be fair to conclude that the positive effects outweigh the negative effects. It is concluded that, it is vital to sustain these benefits whilst attempting to reduce the risks involved through taking a cautious approach in using this technology. CONTENTS 1. Background and Context ................................................................1 1.1 History ..................................................................................1 1.2 In current context ....................................................................2 1.3 Aims and Objectives .................................................................5 2. Methodology ...............................................................................8 2.1 Methodology Overview..............................................................8 2.2 Questionnaires - Basis for choice ................................................9 2.3.1 Questionnaire 1 - Data collection process ....................................10 2.3.2 Questionnaire 2 - Data collection process ....................................11 2.4.1 Questionnaire 1 - Issues and problems experienced .......................12 2.4.2 Questionnaire 2 - Issues and problems experienced .......................13 2.5 Focus group discussion .............................................................13 2.6 Research methods for each objective ...........................................14 3. ...read more.

Middle

A report conducted by Motorola on the mobile phone habits of British users (4) commented that one-third of respondents use their mobile phones for keeping in touch with family while away on business and 93 per cent of users valued the convenience their phone offers. Charles Golvin, a senior analyst with Forrester Research (cited in (5) ) echoes this view by saying "people can be in touch anytime and anywhere they want to". Ray Oldenburg (cited in (6) ) defines the freedom aspect of the mobile phone by describing the mobile phone as a "third place" outside of work and home. Oldenburg (cited in (6) ) describes the role of the mobile phone as "a meeting place, a popular place for spending time whilst simultaneously being a non-place, a centre without physical or geographical boundaries". Similarly, alongside freedom and increased accessibility, mobile phones also help increase personal safety with 81% of those surveyed in a 1998 Motorola report (4) stating that they felt that having a mobile phone increased their safety. This aspect of mobile phones played a key role in the growth of mobile phones amongst young people as parents felt a peace of mind with their children being more secure and accessible through the possession of a mobile phone. 4.3 - Decreasing costs and increased choice A recent report by ABCnews.com (5) states that the average monthly mobile phone bill in the United States has almost halved from $81 to $45 over the past decade. These falls in prices are also prevalent in Europe with a report by Continental Research (7) stating that the average monthly mobile phone bill in the United Kingdom fell by over 40% between 1996 and 2000 from �20.23 per month to �14.40 per month. These decreasing costs are largely associated with the growth in this sector which has led to increased competition between service providers and lower prices for consumers. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is clear that there is no single underlying reason behind the growth of mobile phones and different factors have held varying levels of importance depending upon geographical, economic, political and social factors. In contrast, what is clear is that mobile phones have changed the way in which we interact and communicate and will continue to do so in the years to come judging by the growth and impact of mobile phones in the 13-18 year age group and this trend continuing in future generations. Similarly, the impact of this change has had both a positive and negative effect on social interaction. Whilst mobile phones have increased physical interaction and communication and expanded our network of contacts through ease of accessibility and through offering greater freedom, at the same time, there are risks associated in terms of over reliance, issues of mobile etiquette and the development of a culture of interruptions. However, I believe that the positive impact of this change outweighs the negative impact of this technology. Similarly, no new technology is "hiccup free" and thus I believe that over time as this growth continues, many of the negative impacts associated with mobile phones will automatically remedy themselves as people become increasingly socially aware of this impact. Nevertheless, it is vital that in order to maintain this positive impact in the face of inevitable future growth of this technology, it is important to reap the benefits of this technology with caution. I therefore feel that if the future of this technology is to remain as bright as its past has been in recent years, it is vital to sustain these benefits whilst attempting to reduce the risks involved through taking a cautious approach in using this technology. Finally, I feel that social interaction and mobile phones is a very new subject area and still requires a lot of study. The very recent publication of the book perpetual contact by James E. Katz and Mark Aakhus (1) has shown that researchers, academics and professionals are looking to study this area in greater depth in the future. ...read more.

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