Mobile Phones in the Campus: Connecting or Disrupting?

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

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.

Exam Cheating

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?

6 thoughts on “Mobile Phones in the Campus: Connecting or Disrupting?

  1. Hi Endalk,

    Recently, I started enjoying your nice commentary and interesting composition about some of your observation in the campus. Indeed, for some one who has an acquittance with AMU/AWTI no matter when the time is; it brings a lot of memories.

    Anyway, though my ink is not sharp like yours, I love to comment on your view about the usage of cellphone (mobile) in the campus. As you mentioned and as far as your profession is concerned too, I boldly say “information matters”. So we both can agree on the positive impact of cellphone from this point of view. In case of AMU it is really misused and even the service is not to the standard we expect though. What I feel is the functionality is just for playing music, and picturing, then call service. Obviously this is why students are accustomed to disturbance. Had the service been provided with some internet facility, they would have used for other useful purposes.

    Of course, the usage for the so called “aterira” is an uncontrollable problem, especially for objective type questions in exam. In this regard, I would say students from social science area are more vulnerable. In my view other issues you raised are not that much even though they still exist.

    Overall, I would say in every technological advancement there are positive and negative impacts that has to be expected by the end users. So keep on observing and share us your view.

    Best regards,

    1. First I went to Appreciate your creativeness to view the problems of cheating in the classroom ,it is new bad accident for Ethiopia and her students ,if it continues in these way assume what will happen.
      how can the students attitude change, by means of hard reading and by create motive with out chiating each other.
      cheating is bad habit.

  2. This is a nice article! but my friend you should know everything has got its’ own draw back! well actually i can’t say that the disturbance is a draw back! it is just ignorance of university administrative body. they can just avoid it by stating regulation on usage of mobile phone!
    one thing i know! mobiles are connecting ppl of cource in the hand of the arrogant they are disturbing! i am very sorry to say this but u’r article stinks! you should discuses about the student and administrative bodies negligence! there is no problem with the mobile phone they are built to connect ppl and they are still doing it!
    Got it!

  3. I realy condemen the usage of cell phone in class room. this has to be teachers role to stop any violent student while learning is on progress .teachers should inform thier students to turn off thier dvice.even at exam a student should not allowed to display any electronc materilas unless it is permited for specific function.

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