Results and findings
Q1. From the survey, it was found that 93% of the respondents felt that teenagers are addicted to mobile phones nowadays.
This finding is consistent with other studies which showed that the vast majority of smartphone users (81%) have their mobile switched on all of the time, even when they are in bed. 47% of teenage smartphone users admitted using or answering their handset in the bathroom or toilet. The findings of a US survey of 2,000 college students reported that 85% of the students constantly checked their mobile phones for the time, and that 75% slept beside it.
Sources: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2011/08/a-nation-addicted-to-smartphones/ and http://www.academia.edu/3372702/Griffiths_M.D._2013_._Adolescent_mobile_phone_addiction_A_cause_for_concern_Education_and_Health_31_76-78
Q5. From the survey, it was found that 85% of the respondents felt that phone addiction affects face to face communication.
“There has been a shift in the way we communicate; rather than face-to-face interaction, we’re tending to prefer mediated communication”, “We’d rather e-mail than meet; we’d rather text than talk on the phone.” (Paul Booth, assistant professor of media and cinema studies in the College of Communication at DePaul University, Chicago)
Theme 1: One of the main evidences that teenagers are addicted to their mobile phones is excessive use (overuse) of their phones.
According to the respondents, it shows that teenagers are addicted to their phones because they are overusing their phones.
These are some responses that reinforces this statement:
“That person will feel a need to have it with him and keep on checking on it”
“When they are always on the phone”
“They get nervous if they are not using their device and they are socially awkward”
“The teenager will stare and play with his phone all the time wherever he/she goes.”
“If he/she constantly uses her phone instead of talking to friends etc.”
Even though there is no need to use their phones, teenagers often take them out. According to Merlo (2010), this is because “there are some very addictive games that make you want to continue playing or social media platforms that make people want to keep updating their status.” Merlo also notes that talking on the phone is also not typically the problem. It is this need to be connected, to know what’s going on and be available to other people that have become the hallmarks of cell phone addiction.
Theme 2: How phone addiction affects students
Phone addiction has affected students negatively. With new technologies, students have spent more time on their phone, hence neglecting their studies and failing tests.
According to News wise, Courtney Stewart, research associate at the Indiana Prevention Resource Center (year), students and others could experience the inability to concentrate on the task at hand, be it school work, a job or an important conversation. Stewart elaborates that school work may suffer or deadlines are not met, which resulted in many instructors and employers now banning the use of cellphones while in class or on the job. Failure to comply with these rules can result in declining grades, removal from the classroom and losing a job.
Similar opinions are gathered from our survey respondents, which are as follows:
“ Yes. Some students become so addicted to phones that during lessons, they are secretly using their phones or cannot concentrate during lessons because they are thinking of what they played on their phones or what they will do with their phones after school.”
“They tend to start deviating from their studies and end up losing interest and doing badly for exams.”
“They pay attention a lot less, some even sleep with it disturbing them in the middle of the night, some are addicted to the games on it, some can be chatting away, not doing homework and many will be not paying attention as they look under their table, smiling suspiciously. When studying, the little ring from some notification or chat will intently hook you up and distort you from all tasks you were planning to do just then.
“It will interfere with their grades as well as social life at school and at home.”
According to the respondents, phone addiction causes students to lose interest in studies, they won’t do school work because a phone is a distraction and lastly, there is a higher chance that they will fail in exams because they spend excessive time on their phones instead of studying or doing homework.
Theme 3: Phone addiction affects face to face communication
According to the respondents, phone addiction affects face to face communication vastly. People addicted to the phone will have less face to face communication and they will only want to use their phones and message one another, hence proper conversations cannot take place.
These are some responses that reinforce this statement:
“When having conversations the person who is addicted to the phone would be using the phone instead of actually chatting with the person.”
“People would feel more comfortable on online communication via phone instead of face to face communication.”
“You can't have a proper conversation if your friend keeps looking at his phone, distracted.”
“They would rather message each other about their worries instead of talking face to face as i think it is easier for one to express their feelings online than face to face.”
“If people are addicted to their phones, they will want to use their phones all day and not want to communicate face-to-face with real people anymore.”
Theme 4: Ways to prevent phone addiction
Based on the previous findings by Courtney Stewart and Merlo , we can conclude that although phones are one of the best technological advances in the past few years, they can be dangerous and can cause negative influences on the users who are addicted to it. Therefore, we should create ways and means to prevent phone addiction from affecting us negatively and we should learn how to use phones moderately and not get addicted to it.
Based on our survey results, the three main suggestions are:
1. Engaging youths in activities that would keep them away from their phones
2. Including restrictions on phones, especially time limits
3. Giving youths phones that mainly provide basic functions such as voice calling or texting.
Some ways suggested by our respondents are:
“Try to get teenagers interested in sports. Eg. Introduce them to a sport that is so fun that they will stop using their phones.” - Yu Liang
“Have a time limit to using the cell phone” - Thomas
“Force them to put away their phones when doing important things like homework or projects etc.” - Reese
“Get a less advanced phone” - Jeron Kor
“Get them to do more activities that do not require the phone.” - Ancel Chong
“1. Parents could not allow children to use cellular, but they can give their children a phone with barely basic function of calling
2. In school, they can ban students using phone when eating” - Ge Wailok
During a worldwide project named “World Unplugged”, more than 1,000 students from 10 countries around the world were asked to go without any media for 24 hours and their feelings were monitored. Despite being from different countries, most of the students all had the same feelings, of which some were: fretful, confused, anxious, irritable, insecure, depressed, lonely etc. A student from the UK even said: "Media is my drug. Without it I was lost. I am an addict."
Based on the same project, “World Unplugged”, the depths of the “addiction” that students reported prompted some to confess that they had learned that they needed to curb their media habits. Most students doubted they would have much success, but they acknowledged that their reliance on media was to some degree self-imposed AND actually inhibited their ability to manage their lives as fully as they hoped – to make proactive rather than reactive choices about work and play.
A chinese student said, “Although 24-hour no contact with media made me very uncomfortable, I started to reflect on my life. Do we live for the media, or for ourselves? We need to make the right choice.”
Phone can be used in the right way but when we are addicted, the entire situation would change. We would become less focused in our studies which can ultimately affect us as students in the long run. We would also need to have more face to face communication as we are in the stage where our friends’ opinions and interactions are extremely important to us. With the lack of face to face communication, many of us would become socially awkward and be unable to interact normally. Due to this awkwardness, we would then turn to our phones for comfort and the whole cycle starts all over again.
There are many ways to overcome phone addiction. However, it all depends on our own conviction. Even though our parents may give us time limits or less advanced phones, we would still be addicted to our phones if we are determined to continue using it excessively. Therefore, we should understand the implications and dangers of phone addiction and learn how to control our addiction and find ways to stop it, such as practicing putting away our phones for an extended period of time and trying to not yield to the temptation of using it unnecessarily. Other ways also include getting yourself interested in other hobbies which do not make use of technological devices such as outdoor sports. We should also meet up with our friends and do more bonding activities such as playing soccer together. These activities would have two positive influences on you. Firstly, you would have more face to face communication with your friends and be able to have better interaction and relationships. Secondly, these activities would keep you away from your technological devices as you would be out of your house and doing other activities, decreasing the period of usage and hopefully also decreasing your addiction.
The limitations of our study would be the time taken to finish all the reports required due to many other projects and homeworks from other subjects going on at the same time.
Another limitation would be organizing group meetings to discuss what to write in our reports and other important things such as the making of the blog and the roles. We all have different schedules and therefore it is hard to find a suitable day for group work to discuss our project.