Cell Phones And Academic Performance English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The adoption of cell phones by young generation has been a global phenomenon in recent years. Thus, with the emergence of this technology almost everyone has tried to adopt these cell phones. We found in this research that cell phone usage had a negative impact on students GPA. Students using their cell phone during class, they also receiving and sending text messages during their class so they were able to pay less attention to lecture and thus it had negative impact on students' performance.

Key terms: Cell phones' usage, Academic performance, GPA


Since the commercialization of cellular phones technology, the use of this communication device has rapidly increased. Today, the global cellular phone market now stands at approximately 1.8 billion subscribers, and is forecasted to reach 3 billion by the end of 2010 (Reid and Reid, 2007). In Pakistan total subscribers for cell phones till 12 September 2012 have reached to 120,513,430 (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority). The adoption of cell phones by young generation has been a global phenomenon in recent years. This cell phone was originally created for adults for business use (Aoki & Downes, 2003). It has become an integral part of adolescent's daily life and one of the most popular forms of electronic communication. In today's world almost every student is having cell phone in their pocket, clipped to a belt, or hidden in a brief case or purse and knows perfect usage of it. As technology is growing every day at very fast rate, and is bringing positive and negative effects for society and so is with cell phone technology that has brought both positive and negative effects. It is commonly observed that these cell phones have also become status symbol for youth and they have indulged themselves in the competition of having best and most updated cell phone with maximum features.

Today's youth prefer cell phones more as compared to internet or any other social activity. Not only young people own cell phone, they have "symbolic and affective" investment in them (Lobet-maris, 2003) and they also want to upgrade it as soon as new model is launched in the market. Cell phones are that much involved in our life that the person who own cell phone is tend to be thought socially connected, independent, modern and in demand by the society. One of the most used applications of cell phones by our young generation is text messaging and these cellular network companies have also played a vital role in negatively affecting our young generation by introducing a number of packages for text messaging and calls also. Students of today are master in fastest text messaging and are seen text messaging while at home, at university, traveling ,in classroom and specially while studying.

Communication with fellow students, professors, parents, and everyone else is just a click away. In New Zealand study 56% of high school students reported that the most important reason for using a cell phone was to talk and text with friends and family (Netsafe, 2005).

This research paper explores the impact of cell phones` usage on students' academic performance. We examined the affect of mobile usage on the grades among university students.

Literature Review

"Cell phones and academic performance:

The invention of the fixed telephone in the late 19th century in the United States changed the way that people interacted and communicated (Marilyn, 2005). This has been paralleled in the early 21st century by the advent of the cell phone (Marilyn, 2005). This is extremely similar to the fixed telephone in the early 20th century, where telephone engineers explained that the telephone was made for the business world and not for social conversation (Flinchy, 1997). The growth of cell phone technology is demonstrated by the fact that in 2002 the number of cell phone users worldwide, surpassed those of fixed-phone users (Srivastava, 2005). In 2005, the number of cell phone subscribers worldwide will reach 2 billion (Deloitte Research, 2005) and in Australia will reach 19.2 million (Fisher, 2005). And in Pakistan total fixed phone subscriber by December 2011 reached to only 3,098,117, less than mobile phone subscriber that were 120,151,253 till December 2011 (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority). In Norway in 1999, 80% of 13 to 20-year-olds owned a cell phone, while in the United Kingdom in 2001, 90% of young people under the age of 16 did so (www.capacitybuilder.co.uk). In 2003, in Italy, 56% of children aged 9 and 10-years-old owned cell phones and of the 44% who didn't, all expressed a desire to own one (Guardian Unlimited, 2003), and amongst teenage girls in Tokyo, the adoption rate is almost 100% (Srivastava, 2005). In Australia in 2004, a survey by iTouch found that 50,000 children aged between 5 and 9 years of age owned a cell phone, one third of children aged 10 to 13-years old and 45% of 13 to 15-year-olds also owned the device (Allison, 2004). Surveys have consistently shown that young people even prefer their cell phone to television or the Internet (Enpocket, 2005; Hession, 2001). It is children's favourite method of communication (Livingstone & Bober, 2005) with younger adolescents (school years 7 to 9) more attached to their cell phones than older adolescents (school years 10 to 12) as they reported needing to return home to collect their phone if they forget it (Matthews, 2004). Young people also save text messages which they value and cherish (Taylor & Harper, 2003).Thus, with the emergence of this technology almost everyone has tried to adopted these cell phones.

The main issue for teachers is the disturbance created in class room due to cell phone calls and texting. The functionality of SMS lets students send and receive messages unobtrusively (Geser, 2004). Combining this with the ease of hiding the device due to its small size, makes it very difficult for teachers to control. Because of the short time frame in which an answer is expected to a message (Kasesniemi & Rautiainen, 2002), the excitement of finding out who has called and what the message is (similar to snail mail letters), young people are reluctant to turn off their cell phone during class time. In an Italian survey of 9- and 10-year-olds, 86% of students who owned cell phones kept them on during lessons (Guardian Unlimited, 2003). The New Zealand survey also found that 66% of students who took a mobile phone to school kept it turned on at school (Netsafe, 2005).

Campbell (2006) found that students and faculty view the ringing of cell phones in class to be a serious problem. It is clear that if students are spending time texting, they are not paying attention to the class lecture, will not be able to understand the topic and will not be able to produce good result in class, this will have impact on their grade points. Through common observation today students are busy with this technology, spends 90% of their time with cell phones and don't pay attention to their studies. And if they pretend to their parents that they are studying in their room, they are actually dodging their parents, it is such a small device that they can easily hide them and lie with their parents. Students are trying to make as many friends whether girl or boy as they can, keeping themselves busy all day and night, as these network companies for their own profit have introduced a lots of cheap packages for call and messaging. All these activities in which students have engaged themselves in today's world are demolishing their present and future.

Students are using this technology not only for text messaging in class but also use it as source of cheating in examination. Students have always cheated via taking notes into class, or writing notes on hands (Ling, 2000a). For example, 12 students at the University of Maryland were caught cheating during an accounting exam (Anonymous 2003).

With many cell phones now incorporating a digital camera or video, there is a danger in schools, colleges and universities that inappropriate pictures will be taken because of the portability and discrete nature of the camera (Marilyn, 2005). Pictures can be taken quickly without the knowledge of the person being photographed.

Stealing of cell phones is also an issue which can impact on school staff (Williams & Williams, 2005). Most victims of mobile phone theft are under 18 years of age and the phones are stolen by the same age group as well. This can put additional strain on school administration if the theft occurs at or near school and staff are expected to investigate (Marilyn, 2005).

After explaining negative aspect there are some positive impact also, it helps students to stay connected with their group members when assigned some group work from their teacher. In school it also helps teacher to tell their parents about any serious problem happened to the students and also helps teacher to text their parent if they are absent from school.

Students are supposed to use mobile phones whole night texting their friends. It is interesting to note that there are few common family rules about young people's use of the cell phone. In fact, many adolescents (58%) reported that there were no rules set by their parents about their cell phone use, and only 12% reported that their parents used removal of their cell phones as punishment (Matthews, 2004). In New Zealand, this increased to 26% of young cell people reporting being threatened, with the phone being confiscated, as a form of punishment (Netsafe, 2005). It has been found that some young people's sleep is disturbed when friends call them on their cell phone to talk or when a text message is deposited (Anderson, 2003). In New Zealand 11% of young people reported being woken every night by a text message or voice call (Netsafe, 2005). Probably because of the sleeping issue it has been found that the most common rule set by parents (56%) was that children have to leave their cell phones out of their rooms at night. Ten percent of young people also reported that their parents frequently had to ask them to stop using their mobile phone late at night with 12% saying that this was the most common disagreement between them and their parents (Matthews, 2004).

Along with academic performance cell phones have also positively and negatively affected social relationships. With the emergence of mobile phones individuals are able to stay connected with their friends, family and relatives living abroad. In addition to keeping up with social relationships, individuals have also been able to increase productivity with their work because they can be hundreds of miles away from the office, and still have instant access to their e-mail, documents and contacts wherever they are (Tully, 2003). A trend that is becoming more apparent is present absences; this is the concept of how an individual's presence in a social setting changes regardless of their physical presence, they are only half-present (Fortunati 2008). After a ring or buzz of their cell phone, they are drawn away somewhere else, away from their present situation and/or conversation. Through observation, researchers have found that individuals typically will not hesitate to interrupt an ongoing conversation to answer the ringing of their cell phone.

Cell phones have given a new way to individuals to form new relationships and to strengthen existing ones. Teens admitted spending nearly an equal amount of time talking as they do texting each month. The feature is so important to them that if texting was no longer an option, 47 percent of teens say their social life would end or be worsened - especially among females (54 percent compared to 40 percent of males) (CTIA Survey 2008).

Before the emergence of mobile technology, individuals have regular interaction with one another. As they have very little telephonic contact with one another so they are used to visit each other homes regularly. Even if any one of the family member is in hospital, their loved ones even if out of city make a visit instantly or the next day but now with the emergence of cell phones people are supposed to just ask about their health on phone call with their cell phones.


Cell phones` usage will have a negative affect on students` academic performance.


Cell phone usage

Academic performance


The data was collected by distributing questionnaire to students of different universities in Pakistan with the ages ranging between eighteen and thirty. A sample size of 150 students was taken in which 65 respondents were male and 85 respondents were female.

The survey consisted of 24 questions, including cell phone impacts on students' academic performance and social relationship. Multiple choice questions were asked. The reliability of the instrument was calculated by using SPSS. The instrument was personally administered to the sample. Demographic information (e.g., age, gender, university, degree, GPA) was also collected.


After successfully collecting the data through distributing questionnaires in different universities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, we have inserted that data in SPSS software data sheet and run desired functions necessary to know that what impact does independent variable (cell phone usage ) have on dependent variable (students' academic performance). We have evaluated students' academic performance by considering their GPA.

From the correlation results as shown in TABLE 1, we have find that cell phone usage is having negative impact on students GPA i.e. (r= -0.303, p<0.01). We also come to know that age and GPA is also negatively related with each other i.e. (r= -0.154, p<0.01). The Cronbach's Alpha reliability for this scale is 0.688. For calculating Cronbach's Alpha we have also reversed the scale of question 2, 3 and 6.


Correlation Results

M S.D 1 2 3 4

Age 21.487 1.8672 1

Gender 1.58 0.49521 -0.184*

Cell phone usage 3.267 0.4512 0.045 -0.149 1

GPA 1.9911 0.57583 -0.154 0.246** -0.303** 1

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).


Regression Results

Predictor Academic performance(GPA)

β Δ Sig.

Step 1

Age -0.27 0.164

Gender 0.205 0.006

Step 2

Age -0.26 0.167

Gender 0.169 0.020

Cell phone usage -0.212 0.072 0.001

The table 2 shows the regression result of dependent and independent variable. In step 1 control variables i.e. age, gender is shown and in step 2 independent variable i.e. cell phone usage is shown. In horizontal line we have dependent variable i.e. academic performance measured using students' GPA.

The fluctuation in students' academic performance (GPA) due to cell phone usage is 72%. The impact of cell phones usage on student academic performance is negative i.e. (β = -0.212). Which implies that the student whose usage of cell phone is more is having low GPA i.e. showing poor academic performance.


In this research paper we have evaluated that what impact students' cell phone usage has on their academic performance by considering their GPA. Students' age and gender is also taken into account while running analysis using SPSS. Cell phone usage is taken as independent variable and students' academic performance is taken as dependent variable. Questionnaires are given to be filled by students of different universities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad between the age of 18 and 30. The data collected is analyzed by using SPSS software and evaluated the impact of cell phones' usage on students' academic performance.

The result shows that cell phones' usage is negatively impacting students' academic performance. This means that the students who are using cell phone more are having low GPA. On asking questions on how much time they spend on using their cell phone and in how many classes they use cell phone, we have found that there is negative relationship of these two questions with students GPA. That is the students who are using cell phone almost 7-10 hours and those also who use cell phone during their most of the classes are having low GPA. On asking random questions we have found that one of the most used feature of cell phone is text messaging used by 67% students (female 37% and male 30%). Almost 81% students (female 46%, male 35%) are using standard text messages as compared to multimedia messages or other. 43% students (31% female and 13% male) say that they put their mobile phone on silent mode while attending class. 35% students (20% female and 15% male) say that they occasionally receive or send text messages while the class was in session. 55% students (35% female and 20% male) agree on policy that mobile should be kept by students but they should set it in vibration mode. 61% students (40% female, 21% male) say that they do not use night packages on their cell phone. 42% students (23% female, 19% male) say that they use day packages on their cell phone. 67% students (39% female, 27% male) say that they spent 10% of their pocket money on cell phones. 56% students (32% female, 24% male) say that they sometimes use their cell phone while doing their assignments.

As results show that those students who spend most of their time on cell phone are achieving low GPA, which is in accordance with the literature and common observation. Students are using their cell phone during class, they are also receiving and sending text messages during their class so they will be able to pay less attention to lecture and thus it will have negative impact on students' performance. Some students are also using night packages on their cell phone which will make them unable to be attentive in their morning class or may be unable to attend the first class. It is better to activate missed call alert on their cell phone and put it off during class and when they will on it they will receive message of all the calls they missed when the cell phone was off. In last concluding all cell phone usage is significantly impacting our youth who are misusing this technology, and thus showing poor academic performance and demolishing their career opportunities.