students using mobile phone in class
Technology

Mobile Phone Usage Among Students: Its Pros and Cons

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Almost five decades ago, the invention of consumer-based mobile phones became a reality. Cell phones back then looked very different from our current mobile phone models. Their appearance has changed during these years, including the functions they now offer us. 

Voice calling once was the only way to communicate. Mobile phones have become multifunctional smart devices with video calls on the internet, forcing their popularity to skyrocket.

In April 1973, the engineer Martin Cooper made the first call through a prototype mobile phone to a friend in their market competition. Ten years later, we got the first commercial mobile phone available in the market. 

Following a hundred-million-dollar investment, Motorola introduced the Dyna TAC 8000 X in 1983. The device weighs almost 800 grams, has a diameter of 33 centimetres, and requires ten hours to charge after one hour of talking.

Its price is almost four thousand dollars at the time. Even so, 300,000-unit sales were in the first year alone. 

Evolution of Mobile Phone Technology: From 1G to 5G 

The technological advancement is directly related to the increased use of phones as it allows them to perform more functions. Cell phones these days have turned into compact portable computers.

The first generation (1G) can only make voice calls with the mobile. With the arrival of 2G in the nineties, SMS (text messages) to communicate began. 

Later, the broadband arrived through the GSM (3G) network allowing fast access to the internet on our phones. It also enabled functions such as GPS tracking or videoconferencing that we use in our daily lives. 

The fourth-generation (4G) allowed high-speed browsing, with greater security like encrypted password protection and quality of service. With this technology, it is possible to enjoy streaming multimedia content comfortably. 

The latest generation (5G) will multiply the internet connection speed by 10, making it possible to download a full movie in a matter of seconds. In addition, it will allow you to have more connected devices and share information in real-time. 

The mobile phone industry has also evolved over time.

Earlier, Motorola and Nokia had most of the market share with their numerous models. Nokia’s 3310 and the legendary 1100 were launched in 2003 and had a sales record of 250 million units globally.

Another smartphone revolution came in 2007 when Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone. It ushered in a new era of smartphones that left behind the brands that once were the primary market dominators. 

The Changing Student Experience: Pros of Student’s Phone Usage 

Today, phones are not used only for communication. Instead, we use them for everything and anything from shopping online to posting multimedia content on social media.

Currently, most people carry a Smartphone. And using it for educational purposes is the solution to avoid idle use during free time. Students should have the creativity to create exciting content that involves other students. 

The advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones for students, in particular, maybe get cloudy. It is because technology is now in a symbiotic relationship with us. We can’t live without technology. Just imagine the pandemic without cell phone usage to communicate COVID-19 safety measures. The most concrete advantages of mobile phone usage are communication, but now it’s for global audiences, thanks to various social media apps available on our mobiles. 

The Advantages of Mobile Technology in Education Can’t Be a Miss. 

Instead of having negative opinions initially, a discussion requires exploring both sides of the coin to make more information led decisions. We have to get the positive side out of everything, including social networks. Since people feel so addicted to using their mobile phones, it is the core of our discussion. 

The pros and cons of using mobile phones can’t be discussed without considering its implications on students. A smartphone is a perfect tool for education, provided it is used for its intended purpose. 

For example, teachers can devise study plans that enable their students to create groups on social networks to share information or multimedia content of mutual interest, all under the teacher’s supervision and rules.

Students can also access podcasts, videos and other informational materials to help them immensely in their studies. 

Students as Digital Creatives 

There is a growing development of educational applications for mobile phone usage. A teacher can include these learning apps in their educational model to eliminate cell phone usage problems in the classroom. Teachers can also encourage students to be the authors of their mobile applications to serve their collective learning. 

Teachers can inspire students to work as a team for the common good, and it could even be something informative in the style of a digital newspaper. The idea is that teachers motivate their students to integrate and make good use of the technology already available to them as advantages of using smartphones. 

21st-century education typically suggests a more horizontal model, where a teacher shares ideas with their students, exchanges knowledge, motivates a healthy debate but does not have the duty to know everything. Its authority is from the ability to awaken the student’s interest in researching new topics, be self-critical, and, at the same time, criticise constructively in this learning process, from childhood to university. 

Students of recent times are already familiar with the latest technology. If they keep an eye on the upcoming applications, they might be more tech-savvy than most adults. We can’t ignore this fact. For this reason, we can only guide them to use the technology they have constructively. 

We can see children do several activities online that are as creative as any professional artist’s content. The students’ digital creativity is evident in various social media platforms like Instagram and even the infamous TikTok. 

All we need to do is guide these students and educate them about the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones. If the students are aware of the associated risks, they will make better decisions with mobile technology. 

The Role of Mobile Phones for Learning 

The mobile phone as an instrument for learning facilitates the collective creation of knowledge in the classroom. This touch screen device that threatens to be a distraction during the lessons has the ability for students and their teachers to question, innovate and propose solutions to the problems in their immediate environment. 

Suppose the barrier of mere entertainment and the banality of only criticising through social networks is out of the picture. We cannot limit the technology to sending and receiving messages, snooping in the neighbourhood on Facebook or focusing on entertainment. Today’s education has the challenge of motivating us to go beyond these primary uses even from an early age. 

The challenge is achieved through efficient teacher training on the subject and joint creativity between students and teachers to make the cell phone a classroom learning tool. It is not about creating manuals or long strenuous sessions to turn the teacher into a technology guru; the teacher is a facilitator of the digital experience, fostering challenges and discussions based on the use of new devices. 

The range of mobile applications available offers immediate assessments of literacy, reading comprehension, mathematics, science and art teaching; through games, trivia, and texts within reach of a click. The technology works already as an ally to students as they can access unlimited educational resources online with no issues or strictness of the librarian. 

The mobile as a device alone does not generate any benefit. An underused cell phone is as useless as a hundred-page notebook that the student left empty during a school year. 

When technology use is for good, its effects could surprise those who cling to traditional methods. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) concludes that the proper use of technology produces motivation in students, encourages creativity in the classroom, reduces dropout rates and favours academic performance clarifying other pros of mobile phones for students’ use. 

Instant Access

As we discuss the pros and cons of using mobile phones, we can’t leave out the student’s ability to instantly access everything online. It is a big world in the digital realm. We can access the good, the bad and the ugly with a simple click. Students, in this sense, must be given ample awareness that the device in their hands can be the most helpful tool for their education for life.

The students themselves can regulate students’ advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones. If they choose to access information and tools that will assist them in their education, they can achieve wonders. Students today have unprecedented access to information on their fingertips. 

Apart from this, because the internet is a basic need for everyone today, we can’t leave out the students. They also need the ability to connect with anyone from any part of the world on an instantaneous basis. A mobile phone allows the parents to access the location of their kids, and this feature will enable better safety for students

Coin’s Other Side: Cons of Student’s Phone Usage 

While mobile phones have undoubtedly impacted our daily lives, that does not mean that they should be carried everywhere at all times. The classroom may be one of those places a cell phone should not go to. However, some may disagree. Perhaps, reading this blog and knowing the disadvantages of cell phone use will help you decide on the subject. 

Mobile phones improve the learning process by making it more convenient and accessible. Students can easily access their teachers since they can communicate with them through emails or chats when they need academic support. 

 You can access your classes from any space and time you have, allowing greater flexibility in your studies. You can also study with your group and develop social skills by exchanging information. Still, there are some very harmful aspects of using mobile phones, and some are below. 

Impact on Mental Health 

Extensive mobile phone usage causes great stress to our brains and eyes. It can directly affect our thinking patterns, especially if we consistently view harmful content in different forms.

We have ample evidence that teenagers who use mobile phones and social media platforms are more prone to jealousy and low self-esteem. Also, they have a higher chance of committing suicide if left without intervention.

Impact on Physical Health

Physical health may also come under threat if the students spend more time on their cell phones than needed. There is a limit to the level of strain we can have on our eyes and brain. Cell phones have bright screens that are unsafe for children, especially if they keep on viewing them for long hours without any breaks.

Another disadvantage of smartphones is the online gaming feature. It can easily engage the user to sit at one place for hours without any physical movement. It can be unhealthy if the users spend long hours viewing their screens and can cause the eyes to weaken or suffer from a broken sleep cycle. 

Impact on Academics 

With so many mobile phones available today that incorporate cameras into them, students can take pictures inside the classroom for many reasons. For example, a devious student could photograph an exam or quiz and send that photo to his friends who has that same class at the end of the day. It would allow their friend ample time to research the questions and cheat on the upcoming quiz. 

Or, a student may secretly take photos of other students or the teacher and post them online as a means of humiliation. 

Certain mobile phones – like the Apple iPhone – can have movies downloaded to them. Even if the teacher is a fan of the film in question, it’s highly doubtful teachers would appreciate seeing it during class hours. 

Cyberbullying 

Cyberbullying is a problem that has developed with the invention of the internet and mobile phones. Allowing students to carry cell phones to class can only increase this problem.

During class time, students can use their cell phones to send threatening text messages to another student who may or may not be in the classroom.

Students may also use their mobile phones right before class begins to call a bomb threat or other threats to disrupt the school day. 

Peer Pressure 

Mobile phone usage keeps the students updated about their peers in real-time. It can be damaging for their self-esteem as they will be witnessing good and bad happenings in the lives of their friends. For example, a friend getting the latest iPhone from their parents might pressure another child to demand the same from their parents. 

It can cause similar situations where children will be influenced by peer pressure as they commit something wrong or receive psychological strain. 

Source of Distraction 

The main disadvantage of cell phones used in classrooms is the distraction they can cause. While teachers can incorporate cell phones into lesson plans, that does not mean that students will stop using them once the lesson plan is over. 

Phone Addiction 

Mobile users all around the world are addicted to their mobile devices. They spend hours on their devices daily, and that too pretty regularly. In this sense, there are clear dangers to their health and well-being. 

The best approach to counter this addiction is to opt for activities that do not involve cell phone usage or use parental control apps for the safety of students. Students who may be already facing a habit to use their devices may choose to leave their mobile phones at home while they go to their schools or college. 

Conclusion 

Technology is essential in education because it makes learning possible in ways that were previously impossible. Nowadays, technology occupies a great place in the daily life of all people, including the students, as they access the same technology quite extensively. 

However, this does not mean that the traditional teaching method should be left behind, nor will technological tools replace the teaching work altogether. Still, on the contrary, it will complement the latter’s function and thus teach improving content to the students. 

There are many advantages of mobile phone usage, such as improving the educational quality of the student, allowing them to develop other types of skills, and carrying out practical and not only academic activities, which helps to improve teaching. Also, calculators, televisions, and tape recorders are already used in the classrooms. Now new mobile devices and operating systems have merged them into a single device. 

Therefore, mobile phone users should realise the pros and cons of constantly carrying a smartphone. Once they have the proper guidance, they can better decide how to use it. Further, a more informed decision is usually a better decision. 

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