Effects of Mobile Phones on Students – Positive And Negative

student making research on phone


In this post, we cover over 20 effects of mobile phones on students. A mobile phone is a portable device which you can use for two-way communications; receiving and sending texts and many other applications without the use of cables.

The mobile phone was first introduced by Motorola in 1973. This phone weighed 1.1kg and very bulky.

There has been a serious progression in the past 40 years. We have moved from the huge phones back in the day to portable smartphones that have been entrenched in our way of life.

effects of mobile phones on students
Image source:Newatlas.com.

Mobile phones have made the world a smaller and more connected village.

Recent studies show that over 95% of students own a mobile phone and 75% of them are smartphones with internet access and applications.

Most students now require a mobile phone to communicate with each other and also keep in touch with ever-evolving educational resources online. Its usage among students has both positive impacts and challenges. smartphones can serve as an influential academic tool to students or a distraction depending on school regulations.

Many schools do not permit the use of laptops in classrooms. The mobile phone can substitute for a laptop in terms of huge access to free information and educational resources. The mobile phone can be used in capturing pictures and videos for an easier recollection of taught materials.

Mobile phones have both positive and negative effects on students. In this post, we are going to cover the 20 effects of mobile phones on students.

Positive Effects of mobile phones on students.

1. Convenience

In the 1990s, smart mobile phones were not as readily available as they are in this day and age, so students had to rely on desktop computers located in the library or ICT lab. This slowed down the speed and convenience of classroom research. Mobile phones today are portable and easy to carry around, incorporating all sort of modern technology.

2. Ease of access to information and technology

Learning goes beyond the classroom. Mobile phones give students live information and, on the go, updates of their academic topics. Student engagement is higher when technology-driven tools are used to facilitate learning compared to conventional methods.

Modern teaching methods are increasingly more innovative and engaging in order to keep up with advancements of the 21st century.

student making research on phone
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels.com.

Teachers are recognizing the need for technology in capturing the attention of students. In class, polls can be given to students either in groups or individually where they are required to text answers to the polling site. The results are plotted on a graph. This gives the students a visual representation of their performance.

Also, the smartphone allows students and teachers to cross-check facts in real-time.

The app store or Google Playstore on smartphones have unlimited free educational applications and academic resources. These ease learning and understanding of academic material. The translator application is a big hit for students taking language courses. In a few seconds, students can accurately translate foreign languages, making comprehension easier. These days, they can also download a document scanner on mobile phones.

3. Increased security and emergency communication

Another positive effect of mobile phones on students is that during unforeseen emergencies, students can use mobile phones to let their parents and security agencies know about their whereabouts. It helps parents to keep track of the personal security of their wards. This helps cut down the workload of administrative staff who otherwise would have been in charge of communicating messages to students from their parents.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) locator on mobile phones can assist security agencies and parents in tracking a missing student in matters of concern.

Related: Effects Of Technology On Education

4. Entertainment and Socialisation

Mobile phones can serve as a means of entertainment for students. The popular saying goes ” All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Using a mobile phone, students can take a break from the stress of academic work to relax by listening to music, play games or surf the internet. Developers increasingly create educational games to improve the cognitive ability of students. They also help in developing skills such as critical and creative thinking and problem-solving.

5. Memory Jogger

During classes, students can use their smartphones to snap complicated diagrams, voice record explanations and video record procedures for science experiments or woodwork projects or other vocational courses. This would give them the ability to review taught materials, thereby increasing chances of retention.

6. Communication

Mobile phones have made communication between two or more parties easier. You can use it anytime to relay information.

Mobile phones enable easier coordination of class changes or urgent information dissemination from teachers to students. On group projects, communication through group chat keeps all members abreast of the action plan.

7. Adapting to Modern Society and Real Life

The use of mobile phones is incorporated into every aspect of our lives. Students using the device facilitates their familiarization with modern skills. Mobile phones are crucial in many careers, this head start will give students a competitive advantage in an ever-demanding job market.

8. Selforganization

Self-organization tools such as alarms, dictionary, calendar, encyclopaedia, notes and watch found on a majority of smart mobile phones make life easier for students. These apps are all comprised of a small and lightweight device that makes learning, time management and planning less cumbersome. One of the good effects of mobile phones is because of the stopwatch feature which students can use in presentation preparation and practice.

9. Navigation

The map application on smartphones allows students to find their way especially students that walk or drive home.

10. Happy Student

Students are happier when they are allowed to have cell phones. And generally, happiness leads to success. Students who are happy tend to work harder and generally have a higher-class attendance.

Negative Effects of Mobile Phones on students.

11. Distraction

Using mobile phones during classes or study hours can negatively affect the academic performance of a student. Access to video games, the internet and music can adversely affect the attention span of a student especially if the school has a lax attitude toward phone usage during school hours.

effects of mobile phones on students

Phones can go off during teaching sessions, disrupting the serenity of the learning environment.

Contrary to what most students think they cannot multi-task in the classroom. Using a mobile phone to send or receive messages will hinder your abilities to grasp all the information passed by the tutor.

According to results postulated by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, students perform better academically when they do not have their smartphones. The study shows that mobile phone, when banned in schools, is the equivalent of adding an extra school week a year in terms of performance improvements.

12. Exposure to Inappropriate Content

Exchange of inappropriate messages (Sexting) and the exchange of inappropriate pictures are rampant now among teenagers. This has also caused a lot of controversies in schools especially when these pictures get leaked on social media.

13. Health Hazard

The health effect of using mobile phones are increasingly coming to light. Different studies have shown some correlation between radiation emitted from the device and chronic health issues such as cancer and brain tumour. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said its data does not show a direct link between mobile phones and cancer but recommendations were put forward to encourage mobile phone manufacturers to limit radiation emission to acceptable levels.

Sleep deprivation amounting from phone usage can lead to stress. The eyesight of students could be strained by constantly staring at the screen of their phones for hours.

14. Cyber Bullying

Traditional bullying has transformed into modern cyberbullying. This involves tormenting someone by name-calling, threatening, body shaming of students online either by unknown predators or their peers. It has a huge psychological effect on students especially those with low self-esteem. According to a study by the New York Post, students with phones are at a greater risk of being cyberbullied.

Cyberbullying further crushes the confidence of teenagers, sometimes leading to depression or in extreme cases suicide.

15. Mobile Phones Encourage Examination Malpractice

Students can use mobile phones to store answers and cheat during exams or facilitate the exchange of information during examinations. Most schools have a zero-tolerance policy to examination malpractice and any student caught can be expelled. This would have a drastic effect on the education of the student.

Applications such as calculator, dictionary and internet access could facilitate academic dishonesty in exam conditions.

16. Cost of Purchase and Maintenance

The cost of procuring a mobile phone is high especially because students mostly do not earn a living. The cost of top-up and data subscription is a constant burden on phone users especially students that depend on a stipend from their parents.

17. Social Isolation

The mobile phone is entrenched in our daily lives. It can get a student so addicted especially to social media that they become disconnected from their friends, family and academic environment.

Mobile phones make social events in school unsocial with more students engaging less in extracurricular activities. An unhealthy addiction to technology devices limits student engagement.

18. Security Concern

If your mobile phone is hacked, various private information such as identity, pictures or contacts could be stolen. It is therefore advisable to always secure your phone and avoid storing banking/payment information on your device.

19. Fake Information and Invalid Educational Resources 

The internet is free; therefore, it is difficult to validate all educational resources posted online. Students can find and learn untrue or invalid information. Inaccurate educational resources can lead to academic failure.

20. Accident

Students that drive to and from school are at the risk of calling/texting while driving. This could pose a real danger to their lives and other motorists.

It is unsafe to use your phone while walking. An accident is sure to happen when pedestrians bow their heads and stare at their screens.

And there you have it; the 20 positive and negative effects of mobile phones on students.

The post was last updated on 12th May 2020.

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