Forget khat or cigarette. The worst outbreak sweeping young university students these days is mobile phone addiction. If you take a trip to visit dormitories in the campus of Arba Minch University, or check out students around their classroom while they wait for their teachers in the campus this fact will become quite evident.
One of the teacher in the university relate the issue of mobile phone addiction with disruption to classroom learning that can occur due to the disruptive nature of mobile phone calls and texting. He said students will not ask permission to send and receive messages in the classroom. They do it unobtrusively. On top of that the ease of hiding the device due to its small size makes it very difficult for him to control. Another teacher tells on the problem that a mobile phone has posed to teaching learning process in the university. He said students are so fond of this loud and annoying ringtones and music on their mobile phone and they are not willing to listen music through their ear phones. It seems they are up there in and around classrooms to be as annoying as possible to their fellow students and teachers.
There is no doubt that students need mobile phones as they are very convenient and a common part of everyday life. However for many teachers one of the biggest concerns about mobile phones in that university is that they are being used improperly. Some have even gone to the extent of arguing the necessity of banning the use of mobile phones in and around classrooms to make a healthy and suitable atmosphere.
Besides these irritating classroom disruptions, mobile phone addiction is causing a number of other problems in the campus. Here are some …
Pressure on non-mobile phone owners
In our university I have noticed that non-mobile phone owners are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion. Once I have interviewed students who did not own a mobile phone and they reported a feeling left out of social interactions, and felt pressured sometimes by their friends to get one .They are even mocked. One of them has even informed me that one of his priorities after his graduation would be to buy a mobile phone.
Phone bullying is a phenomenon which some students seem to be increasingly using to sexually provoke students. It might be difficult to describe it as bullying but teachers as well endured some sort of bullying from some of their students. Once a colleague of mine told me that he was bullied by texting from one of his ‘F’ students. He said once you pass your phone number to one of your students, you should expect to receive bullying by texting or even a call.
Students also use mobile, not only to bully others, but also to cheat in exams. Teachers always report that students will attempt to cheat via taking notes, which are called “Aterera” into exam rooms, or writing notes on their hands and even on their thighs sometimes however, the use of the mobile phone to cheat is much more sophisticated and it is harder to detect.
Intruding People’s Privacy
With many mobile phones now incorporating a digital camera or video, there is a danger in the campus that inappropriate pictures will be taken because of the portability and discrete nature of the camera. Pictures can be taken quickly without the knowledge of the person being photographed. An instance such as the videoing by a mobile phone camera of a girl having sex with her boy friend is showing some of the negative uses of the mobile phone camera. You can read regarding this issue on my previous post.
Interestingly mobile phones can also be incorporated in a very positive way in teaching learning process but we are not yet there, mobile phones seem to causing disruption in schools.
What do you think?