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This report seeks to study the social phenomenon of Short Messaging Service (SMS) and youths in Singapore.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

OBJECTIVES This report seeks to study the social phenomenon of Short Messaging Service (SMS) and youths in Singapore. The motivation behind this project is due to the increasing number of SMS users especially among the youngsters. This reports not only gives the chronology of how SMS evolved, but also the basic background to SMS in Singapore, explaining the environment, organisations, people and technology involved. The analysis of the pros, cons and social impact of SMS on youths will also be explored. On top of that, a survey will be done to substantiate some of the more important findings. In addition, a case study on SMS and youths in Australia will be discussed, with certain comparing and contrasting to the situation in Singapore. INTRODUCTION The use of mobile phones has gained worldwide popularity with the youth. From the report of mobileYouth 2003, there are currently 239 million youngsters aged 5-24 in 2003 in 20 important markets and they own 104 million mobile phones (a penetration rate of 44%). [8] Closely integrated with the use of mobile phone is the use of Short Messaging Service (SMS). As the name suggests, SMS is, simply put, a service whereby a user types a message in his mobile phone and sends it to other users. This SMS service is instantaneous, private and user-friendly. A single SMS has an inherent limitation to a maximum of 160 characters per SMS and contain no images or graphics. Thus, "devoid of colour, graphics, audio, video, and confined to 160 characters per message, SMS hardly seemed the most radical of new media technologies." [16] However, it has taken the world by storm, particularly among the youths. In this project, we have narrowed the definition of youths to that of the Generation-Y (below 21 years of age), as this is the age group that has generated a lot of media attention, and hence interests us more. ...read more.

Middle

Firstly, one important social impact that SMS has on the youths is that it has altered the means of communication among the youths. Nowadays, some of them rely more on SMS than verbal communication. Indeed, this trend is shown through our survey: 70% of the youths polled prefer SMS to verbal communication (Appendix 1, Figure 6). As briefly mentioned under the cons of SMS, this has serious implications as the loss of verbal communication could cause youths to become shy, and be unable to express themselves effectively in future. In many situations too, one is relatively more comfortable sending a message via SMS than talking over the phone. Hence, SMS is seen as an easier method to get certain messages across such as "breaking up with a girlfriend". This could be why young people breaking up via SMS is common. Furthermore, SMS has altered the means of communication by decreasing physical interaction among youths with people around them. Though due to its many advantages, SMS helps youths keep in touch with a greater number of people, this form of interaction be lose out in significance to the traditional form of meeting up and chatting with friends. This could have an important long-term effect on culture, interaction and attitudes of the youth within society. In addition, another way of how SMS has altered the means of communication is that, unlike in the past, arranging an outing beforehand is no longer needed, as SMS is instantaneous. People are now no longer as difficult to reach as before, and so a simple SMS message is often enough to arrange a physical meeting and night out with friends. Secondly, another social impact that SMS has on the youths is that there is now a change of language among the young SMS users. Due to the inherent limitations of 160 characters per SMS, there is a need for abbreviations or short-forms to save space, so as to squeeze as many ideas as possible in one single SMS. ...read more.

Conclusion

No new technology is "hiccup free" however, and thus we believe that over time as this growth continues, many of the negative impacts associated with SMS will automatically remedy themselves as the youth become increasingly socially aware of this impact and take steps to rectify them. Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Survey on Youth and SMS Usage We are conducting research on the social impact of Short Message Service (SMS) on the youth as part of our undergraduate dissertation. We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to complete this survey to aide our research. All information is confidential and will not be used for any other purpose other than this study. Particulars Age: ______ Sex: M / F 1. Which is your preferred mode of communication: SMS or verbal communication? ? SMS ? Verbal communication 2. How many SMS messages do you send on average each day? ? 0-5 messages ? 5-10 messages ? 10-15 messages ? 15 or more messages 3. Do you use short forms in your SMS? ? Yes ? No 4. Do you think you are addicted to SMS? ? Yes ? Most probably ? Neutral ? Probably not ? No 5. What is the longest period which you have gone without SMS-ing? ? 0-1 hour ? 1-3 hours ? 3-6 hours ? 6 hours or more 6. In your opinion, what are the favourable outcome(s) of SMS? (You may tick more than one.) ? Time saving ? Cost efficient ? Convenience ? Identification with peers ? A good non-verbal communication tool ? Greater accessibility to people ? Others: (please specify) ______________________________________________ 7. In your opinion, what are the unfavourable outcome(s) of SMS? (You may tick more than one.) ? SMS Addiction ? Serious Distraction ? Loss of verbal communication ? SMS Spam ? Language usage ? Possibility of miscommunication or misunderstanding ? Others: (please specify) ______________________________________________ This is the end of the survey, thank you for your time. Page 1 of 22 ...read more.

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