Mobile phones, particularly the smartphones that have become our inseparable companions today, are relatively new and the history of mobile phones goes back to 1908 when a US Patent was issued in Kentucky for a wireless telephone. Mobile phones were invented as early as the 1940s when engineers working at AT&T developed cells for mobile phone base stations.

The very first mobile phones were not really mobile phones at all. They were two-way radios that allowed people like taxi drivers and the emergency services to communicate. Instead of relying on base stations with separate cells (and the signal is passed from one cell to another), the first mobile phone networks involved one very powerful base station covering a much wider area. Mobile/handphones were first demonstrated by Motorola on 3 April 1973 and made commercially available from 1984, handphones have become an integral part of our lives. The number of mobile cellular subscriptions is constantly increasing every year.  Most of the global populations (especially college and university students) use smartphones, due to its wide range of applications. While beneficial in numerous ways, smartphones have disadvantages such as reduction in work efficacy, personal attention social nuisance, and psychological addiction. Currently, the addiction to smartphones among students is progressively increasing every year.

Many teenagers are fanatical about being always available and are extremely uneasy if unable to contact their friends countless times each day. A mobile phone is becoming an integral part to students with regard to managing critical situations and maintaining social relationships. This behavior may reduce thinking capabilities, affect cognitive functions, and induce dependency. The signs of smartphone addiction are constantly checking the phone for no reason, feeling anxious or restless without the phone, waking up in the middle of the night to check the mobile and communication updates, delay in a professional performance as a result of prolonged phone activities, and distracted with smartphone applications.

A child in four between the ages of five and 16 now has a mobile phone, as well as make calls with it; youngsters are using their handsets to send millions of text messages to friends each day. Students rely mostly on their devices to keep them organized. The calendar, alarms, and camera (usually to take photos of a teacher’s notes), it is a clear evidence that many pupils feel that they are deriving educational benefit from the use of their devices, They are using many of the features of their devices and often finding creative ways to employ these features in their schoolwork, both at home and at school and using a mobile device in the classroom involved the need for exploration and a lot of personal research

Sociologists have also warned that the popularity of e-mail, text messaging and playing games on mobile phones is affecting other important activities such as recreational reading and studying. But the mobile phone is the most dominant portal of information and communication technology. Mobile phone addiction and withdrawal from mobile network may increase another, tension, depression, irritability, and restlessness which may alter the physiological behavior and reduce work efficacy. A third of those aged between 16 and 20 prefer text messaging to all other means of written communication. It has implications for academia as well as governmental and not-for-profit organizations regarding the effect of mobile phones on individual.

There are health risks that may be caused from using mobile phones or living nearby a mobile base station while making or receiving a call, radiation is transmitted from the mobile phone to the base station and vice-versa by high-frequency electromagnetic fields.

No doubt mobile phone has changed our lifestyle but we must admit that there are both uses and abuses of the mobile phone. But mobile phone plays a vital role in the development of our civilization. It should be used properly or in a proper manner.


Article by: Blessing Bassey

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