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As the functionality of mobile phones is increasing today due to the advancement of technology, it provides a better platform for the mobile users in choosing their mobile activities. Today, the college students can simply go for text message through different applications, watch video, video call, play games, GPS, download songs and others more (Dr Madanmohan Rao. 2012).
Doubtless, mobile phone has evolved as a trend of the college students life today which had made a heavy dependence of them towards their mobile phone. Research has named the phenomenon of over addiction towards mobile phone as "Nomophobia".
The independent variable in this study is mobile phones whereas dependent variable in this study refers to Nomophobia. In other words, the target respondents are Penang college studens who age falls between 18 to 24. The main objective of this study is to investigate whether Nomophobia happens among Penang college students nowadays. This theoretical framework showed a strong relationship between the variables. A pilot test will be carried out to test on the questionnaires and eliminate errors that occur.
Background of Study
Since last decade, mobile phones have begun enjoy the fruits of modernization under the globalization development. This has made the mobile phones in becoming one of the dominating technologies with its increasing functions. Mobile phone has become the the means of communication (Lange, 2011) which the consumers can keep in touch and communicate with their friends and family. Doubtless, mobile phones have integrated into consumers' life and become a part of their life which they always have to check on it wherever they go. Even, consumers tend to be lost and panic without their mobile phones with them which had made these mobile phones in becoming such an important device that cannot seem to do without.
Mobile phones today have gained its popularity especially among the college students with its multi-functions communication capability. As these youngsters today are highly aware on the ongoing improvements particularly in communication technology, a mobile phone has adopted in becoming their tool of communication on their daily basis. (Shahnahan, 2009). Just because a mobile phone is more than a phone, it can easily suit the demand and the needs of the college students. For them, mobile phone is a mobile computer .It is convenient and user-friendly which easily enables them to communicate text, video call, go online, listen to the music, play games and etc. It aids in boosting their confident and self-esteem, in addition reinforce them in all aspects. As a result, it has become an essential of their life which these college students had relied so heavily on the mobile phones.
The advancement of the mobile phone into a smart phone had made the users depend so heavily on it. Even becoming more serious, the consistency of checking the mobile phones or smart phones has gradually increased. Due to the multi-functions of the mobile phones are having today, it has become a habit and obligation for the consumers in obsessively checking on their phones if there are missed calls, text messages, emails and etc (Cohen, 2011). This phenomena got worsen as people tend to feel insecure, panic and fear without their mobile phones around them. This has simply reflects that mobile phones has become so important for human that they are afraid to lose them.
Having a churning sensation in your stomach if your mobile phone is not around you? Getting anxious if you do not get an instant respond to an SMS? Obsessively checking your phone if there is any updates on calls, messages or emails? Getting morbid fear with your phone switched off or a dead battery? Losing network reception make you feel insecure (Razook, 2012)? If you recognized these symptoms, you are probably suffering Nomophobia. In a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Community Medicine, Nomophobia was discovered in India as a new form of psychopathology in 2009. Nomophobia simply refers to "NO-Mobile-phone phobia" which is an anxiety attack or fear of losing your mobile phones (Parker, 2012). According to the University of Granada, those who got affected most by the Nomophobia are the young adults whom in an age range of 18 until 25. This is because people within these age ranges needed to be constantly connected and emotionally attached with others through the phone (HealthOnWeb, 2012). "They want to be with their friends on a 24-hour basis", said Michael Carr-Gregg, an adolescent psychologist working in Melbourne (Kung, 2012).
Concerning to this issue, a research will be carried on to investigate whether Nomophobia happens among the Penang college students nowadays but not only in the other countries. This is done in order to ascertain if college students in Penang today possesses the symptoms of Nomophobia.
In today's hectic life, mobile phones have played an important role no matter in the perspectives of business industry, political stability or democracy, social life or health industry which causes people today to rely so heavily on them. Doubtless, mobile phones have indeed made today's life in becoming more convenient with its rapid developments. Due to the evolvement of these mobile phones into consumers' life, the usage of mobile phones has dramatically increased too.
A research from Ball State University shows that 99.8% of student having a cell phones. (Ransford, 2010). Besides, according to The Star newspaper in year 2007, it has stated that 81.5% of Malaysians are mobile phone users. (Shereen, 2009). This result shows that mobile phones usage in Malaysia has abruptly increased to a very high amount. Consequently, it has resulted to a phobia, called Nomophobia. Nomophobia, no-mobile-phone phobia, refers to an anxiety-attacked on those whom mobile phones are not with them (Traoca, 2008). This phobia has slowly penetrated into the user life without their conscious. Research by the SecurEnvoy Ltd (2012) the amount of Nomophobic in UK today has increase to 66% which is 25% more from the year 2008 till today. Hinneh(2012) supports the finding on the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the mobile phones usage as there is over 50% of global populations especially from the developing countries use mobile phones in 2008 and 2009, at a nearly amount of 57 per 100. Hinneh (2012) also stated that the majority users of the mobile phones today are the young who are in an age range of 15-24. As the group of young is one of the significance groups in using the mobile phones, it is important to find out whether Nomophobia is occuring in Malaysian college students who is referred the teen group since Malaysia is having a high percentage of mobile phone users.
To investigate whether Nomophobia happens among Penang college students nowadays.
To investigate whether every college students own a mobile phone.
To ascertain whether college students feel panic and insecurity without their mobile phones with them.
To find out the frequency of college students in checking their mobile phones.
Is Nomophobia happen among college students in Penang today?
Bendall (2012) illustrated that that a phobia refers to anxiety disorders. It is an intense fright on "something" that makes your brain to believe that the "something" is extremely dangerous or life-threatening. Thus, the sufferers are warned by the brain to stay away from that "something" in order to protect themselves from dangers. Boshoff (2012) claimed that phobias affect the daily life of the sufferers.
Nomophobia, a term that has been developed in 2008, was discovered in India in 2009 as a new form of psychopathology (HealthOnWeb, 2012). Nomophobia refers to
According to Finn (2012), Nomophobia refers to an attack of anxiety, agitate, irrational fear and panic of not having mobile phone around them. People who suffer from Nomophobia will tend to experience the physical side effects such as shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, accelerated heartbeat, nausea, trembling and sweating.
A research of the University of Granada (2012) has shown that Nomophobia usually targets on the youngsters who are basically between age 18-25 with self-esteem and strong desire in attaching with their friends.
In recognizing the symptoms of a Nomophobic which refers to those who get Nomophobia, one may feel panic, fear and insecure when there is a loss or theft of his or her mobile phones, failure on their Simcard or handset, poor reception of the phone network, exhaustion of battery, running out of credit or obsessively checking on phones for updates and never turning of the mobile phones (Mobile Phone Anxiety Advice Centre, 2012).
Significance of Study
This study is conducted to investigate whether Nomophobia happens among Penang college students nowadays. As smart phones are evolving in this century, it has become a great influence in today's hectic life especially the innovators and early majorities which is made up of the youngsters and college students nowadays (International Finance Corporation, 2012). In order to maintain strong friendship bond and social network with others, they depend a lot on their mobile as a tool of communication.
It is important to conduct this study as the dependency of the college students on the mobile phones has gradually increased due to the increment of the multi-functionality of the phones. Research of Queensland University Technology of Australia, Morningside Recovery Center in California (2012), and SecurEnvoy (2012) have shown that Nomophobia is now happening in today's life. For examples, among 10 people in Spain, out of four people are considered as phone addicts (May,2012). It seems to be the phenomena of Nomophobia is now evolving into consumers' life unconsciously. Hence, it is important to conduct this research to investigate on the college students in Penang nowadays whether they got influenced or depend heavily on their mobile phones which leads them to have Nomophobia that causes them to have several side effects such as dizziness, trembling and sweating that may influence their performance in the future.
For a country, mobile phones play an important role in fulfilling the general needs of it such as political stability and democracy, education, working financial system, health care, distribution of wealth, human rights, transparency and etc (Vendel, 2010). Mobile phones are an important tool in educating purpose, extending opinion and communicating internationally for diplomatic purposes (Martin Vendel, 2010). However, an overly usage on mobile phone which might probably causes Nomophobia may threaten the development of country. For a country, the young generations play an important role in contributing to the country in the future. Therefore, it is important for them to develop a healthy body and mind with the right attitude. The youngsters today should wisely utilize their mobile phones by not excessively using it in order for them to be able to contribute to their country. Thus, this study is carried out to test on if the college students in Penang nowadays are having Nomophobia that might be affect their contribution to the country.
Moreover, Boshoff (2012) claimed that those who suffer from Nomophobia may result in panic attack, dizziness, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, elevated heartbeat, trembling and chest pain. Therefore, this study will be conducted to see if Nomophobia happen among Penang college students today. As the mobile phones have now gradually become the central of life of the college students nowadays, it is foreseen that the mobile phone will gradually influence their life causing Nomophobia to be happened among them. As a result, health problems and symptoms as stated by Boshoff above will surely be increased. Therefore, this study is important to be conducted in order to investigate this issue or problem earlier so that prevention or appropriate solutions can be suggested in tackling the Nomophobia.
Chapter 2 Literature Review
2.1 Technology and Communication
Technology, a word which has become the talk of the town, is dominating people's life today. Technological inventions has been carried out by modern people in easing their life to be more resilience and competitive in order to be able to overcome upcoming challenges and compatible to the globe. As the advancement of the technology can lead to a comfort, convenient, secure and easier life, the society today has relied so much on the technology to improve every aspects of their life.
Since people has realized that they need something more than just symbols and primitive language to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others, technology has always become the ideal choice or the winner among the others. With the evolvement of the modern technology, human effort is lightened in which on the other hand, technology can aid increments of efficiency and productivity.
According to Hall (2012), he stated that communication is the most valuable gift in which it enables humans to interact and communicate with each other to enhance relationship and kinship. An active activity of the modern day man today, modern communication has contributed greatly in its expansion and evolution.
Today, parents can always stay connected with their children through the latest mobile phone technology. Through the application available in mobile phone today, parents can easily track their children on their movement and place where they hang along. This helps the parents to keep in touch with their children for a better understanding on their children's life.
Technology such as mobile phones has become such a massive part of our lives. In today's world, mobile phones have become a distinctively personal item. Apparently, mobile phones are blending into the practices of the community within their culture. Hence, what actually is a mobile phone?
2.2 Evolvement of Mobile Phones
Mobile phones simply refer to a mobile electronic device which is the means of digital telecommunication. Mobile phones enable the owners or subscribers today to stay connect with their friends and family with the various functionality and applications provided through the running of an advance operating system (Cromar, 2010). An information and communication technology which here refers to the mobile phones, develop extremely rapidly today has now become the most ubiquitous device in the globe. As far as the concerns, mobile phone today has transformed not only into the means for communication, it has also rested on the intersections of the rapid developing industries which are computers and new media functions, the consumer electric products (The Economist, 2004).
The mobile phones has evolved immensely both in design and functions from year to year. Pay a quick glance to year 1970, which is the first generation (1G) of the mobile phone, a brick-like, less sophisticated device, mobile phone was only used to transmit analogue voice information (Ashiho, 2003). Then, the first generation (1G) mobile phone was upgraded to second generation (2G) due to the demand on voice, data services and usage of digital modulation for audio quality improvements. Thus, in the second generation (2G) of the mobile phone, global system for mobile communications (GSM) was first introduce to satisfy the demand in the early 1990s in Europe (Ashiho, 2003).
The mobile phone is then improved to the third generation (3G). As the technology is advancing in order to be compatible in the globe, mobile phone has upgraded to provide a better functions and facilities to the consumers. Well-equipped with the multimedia facilities such as video, audio and graphic applications, consumers can watch streaming video or have video telephony with their 3G mobile phones. The 3G mobile phones have improved their speed to 2Mbps (Ashiho, 2003). According to Ashiho (2003), 3G mobile phones provides cellular services known as Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) to maintain a higher data rates and allow a number of Internet style applications to step in.
Up till today, mobile phones have upgraded to the forth generation (4G) due to the excessively demands on the functionality of the mobile phones. Speeding up 50 times higher than 3G mobile phones, improvement of bandwidth, availability on three-dimensional reality, advanced antenna systems, high-performance streaming of multimedia content based on agent technology, scaleable media coding methods, improvement on duration of the phones' battery, operating systems, cameras and and others functions and applications available more can be found in the 4G mobile phones today (Ashiho, 2003).
2.3 Functions and Features of Mobile Phones
Doubtless, mobile phones are transforming from bulky walkie-talkie look to sleek and stylish descendants. The elegantly shaped pocket 'computers' as well as being a mobile phone, is equipped with a large colour screen, built-in camera with flash and zoom, text messaging functions. Moreover, mobile phones today are also served as an alarm clock, calendar, games console, music player, radio or GPS. Besides, some mobile phones are specially designed for business purpose.
Since mobile phones in today century are evolving in satisfying consumers' needs and demand, it has proven that mobile phone in today's life has become extremely important to them. It is not a big deal if people leave their wallet or keys behind but it becomes the end of the world if one forgets about his or her mobile phones.
The use of mobile phones has invaded to the teenagers' life probably college students age 18 to 24 who owns at least a mobile phone. Studies has proven that in the end of 2001, 80 percent of those who aged 15 to 24 used mobile phones regularly in Europe countries (García-Montes, Caballero-Muñoz & Pérez-Álvarez, 2006)
Just because mobile phones had been designed in a sophisticated way through the increment in their functions, it indeed becomes so much convenient and friendly-user to the consumers. Mobile phones today are more approachable especially to the college students or youngsters in every aspect such as creativity, security, entertainment, lifestyle, health, education, productivity and usage like calls and text messaging (McGregor, 2009). Thus, college students and the youngsters have relied so much on their phone in staying contact with the latest trend and their friends and family. Besides, they tend to play games that provided in their mobile phones to kill their boredom.
Ball State University has conducted a study in which 99.8 percent of college students today have cell phones which the cell phones are used to satisfy their computing needs aside from communication purposes (Smith & Prendergast, 2011). In this mobile-driven era, mobile phones consumption has drastically increased due to the increasing of mobile ownership (Legatt, 2010). Legatt (2010) also stated that the Ball State journalism professor and director of the University's Institute for Mobile Media Research, Hanley has found out that the amount of college students on their mobile phone usage has nearly doubled in a year.
2.4 College Students' Mobile Phone Usage Behaviour
It is pretty clear that mobile phone today has become part of the college students' body. In proving this statement, Hack College (2001) has further investigated on the mobile phone usage on college students. In the research, Hack College (2001) highlighted that 90% of the college students use their mobile phones during their class. Besides, 88% of the college students had texted in the class (Hack College, 2001). Mobile phones today have become an important bridge in connecting people to people. Like what the Hack College students think, 54% of them agree that texting via the mobile phone lead to maintenance of connection with people. In addition, 75% of the college students think that the invention or consumption of smart phones has indeed made their life easier (Hack College, 2001).
As mobile phones had transforming into more sophisticated communication tools, it has become a demand for the college students. "Demand" simply refers to the willingness and capability to pay for a service or product which here refers to the mobile phones (Chow, Chen, Yeow & Wong, 2012). In today's era, college students are willing to pay in order to own a mobile phone as it is an important communication and socialization mean for them. Dr. James Roberts, the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University claimed that mobile phones have emerged into consumers' life as a culture in this 21st century (Nicholson,2012).
2.5 Dependence and Addiction of Mobile Phones
The emerging trend of mobile phones into college students' life had made them to depend so heavily on their mobile phone. It leads to a more severe problem, with more and more college students are addicted to their mobile phones. The addictions on mobile phones of college students include behaviour such as obsessively checking on their phones if there are missed calls, text messages, emails or updates, feeling anxious when there is poor reception of network, feeling panic when one cannot find his or her mobile phone, feel insecure when there is exhaustion of battery of mobile phones and etc (Peraza, 2012). The World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had once proved that mobile phones are the cancer causer through its radio frequency electromagnetic fields as they are "possibly carcinogenic to human" especially in increasing the risk for brain cancer (Dr. Mercola, 2012). However, people today tend to still develop their obsessively "phone checking" habits instead of keeping their mobile phones as far as they could for their health purposes (Elizabeeh Cohen, 2011).
According to Dr. Roberts and Dr.Stephen F. Priog III, the Professor of Marketing and Chair of Department of Marketing of Stenton Hall University, they highlighted that mobile phone addiction among the college students is mainly caused by materialism and impulsiveness (Nicholson, 2012).
Mobile phones are applied as part of credible consumption custom but also aid as a pacifier for abrupt inclination of the consumer. The implusiveness plays an important role in the addiction of behaviour and substance (Nicholson, 2012).
In Smith's (2010) study, it has illustrated that fully 96% of the young adults in America which aged in between 18-24 own a mobile phone. Since the college students fall in this age range, it can be concluded that fully 96% of the college students are having a mobile phone. Hence, it has proved that mobile phones had become such a crucial communication means in their life which it is a must for them to at least own one.
Like what Dr. Roberts has stated earlier, the ever-increasing features and functions, convenience and easily accessible of the mobile phones at anytime and anywhere had indeed resulted in their excessive usage among the college students (Nicholson, 2012).
In fact, researches indicate that the involuntary act of picking up and using a mobile phone is done by expecting some type of rewards or immediate gratification. Professor James Roberts from Baylor University Marketing emphasized that the increment of attractive and creative features of mobile phones is now becoming part of our life. Hence, it contributes to pleasure and eventually leads to a closer addiction (CBSDFW.com & CBS Local, 2012).
Contributing to a more serious phenomenon, the mobile phones addiction eventually leads to Nomophobia. Nomophobia literally refers to "NO-MObile phones- PHOBIA". It is a kind of phobia or fear of losing mobile phone (Parker, 2012). According to Dr.Poyraz GÜRSON (2012), fear refers to an emotion which is felt by both animals and people as an instinctual response to potential danger. In this context, people simply feel fear and insecure when they could not find their mobile phones is because they feel potential danger is threatening their life.
2.7 Symptoms of Nomophobia
Nomophobia recognized symptoms such as refusal to turn off his or her mobile phones, immediately reply or answer on any phone calls or text messages, obsessively checking on his or her mobile phones for any updates on incoming calls, text messages or emails, feeling anxious when he or she could not find his or her mobile, having a panic attack when his or her mobile is running out of battery or running out of credit, feeling insecure when he or she lost or left his or her mobile phones somewhere else and feeling demotivated when there is poor reception of network of the mobile phones (Dixit et al., 2012).
Nomophobia is a relatively new phenomenon. According to Parker (2012), he highlighted that the number of nomophobic is increasing up to 13% since four years ago due to the increment of mobile technology addiction. In order to prove that Nomophobia exist as a new phenomenon today, a study was conducted in UK in which 53% of mobile phone users are suffering from Nomophobia (AllAboutCounseling.com, 2012).
Nomophobia usually happens among the younger group of age range 18 to 24. Younger group whom age range 18 to 24 also refers to college students in which they fall into this age categories. Nomophobia is affecting college students as they want to be in contact with their family members and friends on a 24-hour basis (Dixit et al., 2012). This group of people has strong needs of attachment on socialization which result them in exposing to a wider possibility of getting Nomophobia. Like what SecurEnvoy's research, it has concluded that, 77% of people whom aged between 18 to 24 are suffering from Nomophobia (SecurEnvoy, 2012).
Besides, Gray (2011) has conducted a research which indicates the seriousness of mobile phones addiction among the college students in which 94% of them send a text message daily, 73% make phone calls through their mobile phones daily and 75% of the college students are never without their mobile phones. The same goes to Stewart's research (2012), he concluded that 36% of college students surveyed confessed that they cannot live without their mobile phones.
2.8 Agitations caused by Nomophobia
People who undergo Nomophobia will simply experience psychological agitations too. For examples, depression, higher interpersonal anxiety, low self-esteem, mental and physical agony, fright, disorientation and extreme isolation(Sheereen N. Zulkefly & Rozumah Baharudin, 2009) These symptoms occur when the Nomophobics are forced to detach from their mobile phone for an entire day.
Mobile phones addiction is identical to drugs addiction. The overwhelming cravings on mobile phones are similar to "itching like a crackhead (crack cocaine addict)". Nomophobic simply cannot live without their mobile phones as this will lead to their emotional disturbances such as aggressive, disorient, anxious, irritable, insecure, nervous, agitated, crazy, addicted, panicked, jealous, angry, lonely, helpless, depressed, tension and paranoid (Hought, 2011).
Aside from that, like mention earlier, people who undergo Nomophobia which is also known as Nomophobic will probably not having a good sleeping pattern. This is due to their engagement in text messaging. They feel tension by not receiving replies from their friends whereby they are supposed to be sleeping. This staying-up-late habit distorts their daily routine. The addictive behaviour and lack of sleep is indeed destructive to one's psychological health and functioning (Peraza, 2012).
2.9 Treatments of Nomophobia
However, it is not the end of the world yet if one has found out that he or she is suffering from Nomophobia. This means there is still treatments for Nomophobic. Treatments such as exposure therapy and medications can be used to cure Nomophobia (AllAboutCounseling.com, 2012). This therapy helps the Nomophobic to firstly get detach from their mobile phones for certain period of time. Besides, personalized solutions are also possible. In additional, self-help method is also one of the treatments to cure Nomophobia. To overcome the fear of disconnection, Nomophobia must be well informed. By leaving negative thoughts aside, it will aid in triggering the phobia (AllAboutCounseling.com, 2012).. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and muscle relaxation can aid in Nomophobia too through the dealing with emotional and physical symptoms.
A California psychologist, Elizabeth Waterman said that people who suffer from Nomophobia is mainly due to a fear of losing connection to the society (Jay, 2012). Hence, treatment will be given for these Nomophobics to let them know they are equally important as the others in which people will still remember you although they are not reachable for several days. They can still be updated and live a happy life (Jay, 2012).
According to Jay (2012), Nomophobia can be cured through a strict regime. This helps to encourage the Nomophobics' withdrawal symptoms by not allowing the Nomophobics to access to their mobile phones. Moreover, through this regime, Nomophobics are taught methods that are sketched to aid their anxiety and fear.
While for users who are in the deep-seated worries of becoming one of the victims of Nomophobia, the best way is to switch off their mobile phone. "Try to make a commitment to yourself to switch off your mobile phone for certain duration of time each day. Don't bring to dinner table, switch it off when you are in the cinema, and leave it home when you are going out." Waterman suggested (Jay, 2012).
In today's century, Nomophobia is attacking the society of India, United Kingdom, United States, China, Japan, Arab and others country more. Indeed, mobile phones have invaded into consumers' life as a part of their soul and a culture for communication which resulted in an overly and excessively dependence of them on their mobile phones.
Chapter 3 Methodology
The theoretical framework was designed according to the literature reviews by scholars. In this chapter, subjects of study, research variables and research procedure will be discussed. The theoretical framework of the study is constructed at Figure 1 as shown below.
Mobile Phone Addiction
Trend / Culture
Fear of being Isolated
Needs of Socialization
Figure 1: Theoretical Framework of Causes contributing to Nomophobia
The respondents in this study are college students who own at least a mobile phone, whom age between 18 to 24. This study focuses on college students from 4 colleges. The 4 colleges include Disted Stamford College, Han Chiang College, Inti International College and KDU College. These colleges are chosen because in the Malaysia College Directory 2012, these are the top ranked colleges of Penang. Top ranked colleges are chosen as the samples for this study as they will be more centralized with college students from all over Penang in pursuing a better quality of education. Therefore, college students can be targeted easier since all of them will be owning a mobile phone. In this study, 50 respondents were targeted from each college. This means there will be a total number of 200 respondents from these 4 colleges. A visit will be paid to the selected colleges to distribute the instruments. The instruments are distributed in the colleges' cafeteria or canteen in which there is the highest concentration of students. Before distributing the data, each respondent will be informed consent and confirmed verbally if they are students of that particular college in the targeted age range and if they own a mobile phone.
Primary data for this research was collected using a self-administered questionnaires design to serve the purpose of research objectives. The research design used in this study is quantitative method. The quantitative method in this study refers to the distribution of questionnaires. The questionnaire was divided into five sections.
200 copies of instruments are distributed to a total amount of 200 respondents. In designing the research instrument, there is a total amount of 11 questions whereby question 10 has extended 7 sub-questions. The survey consisted of 11 questions that dealt with various aspects of mobile phones such as usage of mobile phones by the college students and symptoms of Nomophobia. Simple rating scale is used widely in this research design in which "the lower the number, the more you agree". The simple rating scale can be found in question 10. The instruments are basically made up by both open-ended and close-ended questions. Multiple choices questions are included in the instrument. Persuasive introduction is designed at the starting place of the questionnaires to get consent from the respondents. Besides, instruction is also clearly stated in the instrument designed. Followed by warm up questions, questions asking the age and gender of the respondents are placed at the first place throughout the questionnaire.
A pilot study was conducted in Tunku Abdul Rahman College Penang Branch Campus on 29 November 2012. A total copy of 30 sets questionnaires were distributed to 30 potential respondents in the college. The pilot study is conducted to pretest questionnaires in order to eliminate potential errors on the questions designed before distribute to target respondents of this study. Through this pilot study, several questions have been reconstructed and improved to be more comprehensive in terms of more options are given.
The drafts of the instrument for pilot study and completed finale instrument sample are attached in the appendices.
This study attempts to investigate a causal relationship which is operated by independent variable, dependent variable, extraneous variable and intervening variable. In this study, mobile phones are a cause of Nomophobia. There are many factors affecting this relationship such as the frequency of checking mobile phones for updates, the extent of anxiety of Penang college students lost his or her mobile phone, the extent of anxiety of Penang college students found that his or her mobile phones are running out of battery or are having poor reception of network and others more. All these factors or symptoms may affect the extent in which whether the mobile phone user is suffering from Nomophobia.
In this study, the extent of the mobile phone usage is the independent variable, Nomophobia is the dependent variable and all the variables that might affect this relationship are extraneous variables. This is shown in Figure 2.
The extent of the usage on mobile phones by Penang college students
Usage of Mobile Phones of Penang college students
Affect the Relationship
The frequency of checking mobile phones for updates
The extent of anxiety of Penang college students lost his or her mobile phone
The extent of anxiety of Penang college students found that his or her mobile phones are running out of battery
The extent of anxiety of Penang college students found that his or her mobile phones are having poor reception of network and others more
Figure 2: Independent, dependent, extraneous variable and intervening variable in causal relationship
In this study, the dependent variable in which refer to the occurrence of Nomophobia can be measured by investigate on the usage of mobile phones by the Penang college students. This can be investigated through the frequency of the checking of mobile phones or the extent of seriousness on the symptoms of Nomophobia that Penang college students undergo. This means the highest the frequency of checking mobile phones for updates and feeling anxiety when the situations such as losing mobile phones, poor reception of network, batter exhaustion and etc occurs, the highest the possibility for Nomophobia to be happened among Penang college students.
The ordinal or ranking scale has been applied in this study as the type of measurement scale. The extent on the symptoms of Nomophobia occurred among Penang college students were measured through the degree of agreement. This means if the respondents have a higher agreement on the statement stated regarding to the symptoms of Nomophobia, he or she might have a higher possibility to suffer from Nomophobia.
In order to collect the data from the respondents, visits were paid to the selected 4 colleges which here refer to Disted Stamford College, Han Chiang College, Inti International College and KDU College. Disted Stamford College was the first college visited. Before distributing the questionnaires to the targeted respondents, approval from the college management is required. The approval takes several days to be confirmed. However, there is no reply from Disted Stamford College to date. Therefore, a second time visit was done to this college. 50 sets of questionnaires were distributed directly in the cafeteria of the college without the consent of the college's department. The second visit was to Han Chiang College. Applying the same way of the visit to Disted Stamford College, 50 sets of questionnaires were distributed to 50 students in the cafeteria. Followed by Inti International College and lastly KDU College, the same way of distribution was done in the cafeteria on the respectively colleges on 50 students of each college. Before the distribution, introduction was made in order to get the consent of the respondents in answering the questionnaires. Besides, confirmation on whether the respondents are the students of the respective college and whether they own a mobile phone were done verbally.
Chapter 4 Findings/ Results
1. Demographic of respondents - Age
No. of respondent
Figure 4.1 shows that the age ranges of the targeted respondents. There are total 48 respondents aged at 18 which occupied 24% of the study. Respondents whom age 19 occupied 26% in which there are 52 of them out of 200. There are total 43 respondents of 20 years which occupy 22%. There are 57 respondents whom age 21 and above, occupying 28% of this study.
In this figure, it has clearly shown that respondents of age 21 and above occupied the highest amount which is 28% out of 100%. However, respondents of age 20 have the least number, whereby there are only 43 respondents out of 200 of them, occupying 22% out of 100%.
2. Demographic of respondents - Race
No. of respondents
Figure 4.2 shows the races of the respondents. There is 86% of Chinese respondents, 10% of Indian respondents, 2% of Malay respondents and 2% of respondents of other races. This means out of 200 respondents, there are 172 Chinese respondents, 20 Indian respondents, 5 Malay respondents and 3 respondents from other races.
It can be clearly seen that Chinese respondents have the highest percentage which is 86% followed by Indian 10% and Malay respondents 2%. Respondents from other races have the least number, which are 3 of them which only occupy 2%.
3. Demographic of respondents - Gender
No. of respondents.
Figure 4.3 shows the gender of respondents in this study. There are 95 male respondents in this study and 105 female respondents. In the other words, there is 47% of male respondents and 53% of female respondents.
From figure 4.3, it has shown female respondents have a higher amount compared to male respondents in this study.
4. How many mobile phones do you own?
No. of mobile phone own
No. of respondents
More than 2 phones
Figure 4.4 shows the total number of mobile phones own by the respondents of study. In this study, there are 141 respondents who only own a mobile phone, 52 respondents own 2 mobile phones and 7 respondents own more than 2 mobile phones. In other words, 70% of the respondents own a mobile phone, 26% of them own 2 mobile phones and 4% of them own more than 2 mobile phones.
From figure 4.4, there are the highest amounts of respondents who own a mobile phone whereas there are only 7 respondents who own more than two mobile phones. It has shown that Penang college students own at least a mobile phone.
5. Is the mobile phone you own a smartphone?
Types of mobile phone own
No. of respondents
Non smart phone
Figure 4.5 shows that 74% which mean 148 of the respondents own a smart phone while there are only 26% which is 52 of them do not own smart phone.
From figure 4.5, it show that majority of the Penang college students own smart phone.
6. Do you think mobile phone is important to you?
Importance of phone
No. of respondents
Not important at all
Figure 4.6 shows that 37.5% which is 75 of the respondents rate the importance of mobile phone as very important, 44% which is 87 of the respondents rate the importance of mobile phone as important. 34 of the respondents who occupy 17% rate the importance of their mobile phone as neutral and 4 of them who occupy 2% think that their mobile phone is least important. There are no respondents who feel that their mobile phone is not important at all.
From figure 4.6, most of the Penang college students feel that feel that their mobile phone are important for them whereas none of them feel that their mobile phone is not important at all.
7. What activities do you usually up to on mobile phone?
No. of ticks
Figure 4.7 shows the uses of mobile phone which is the types of activities that carried on by the respondents. 22% of the respondents use their mobile phone to text message while 20% use their mobile phone to make phone calls. 14% of the respondents use mobile phone to take photo. 15% of them use their mobile phone to surf the internet whereas 4% of them use mobile phone to send e-mails. There is 12% of the respondents who use their mobile phone to play games and listen music respectively. 1% of them use for other purposes such as watch video, look for time and see family photos.
From the data collected in this study, majority of the Penang college students in this study use their mobile phones to text message followed by making phone calls whilst there is a least number of respondents who use mobile phones to send e-mails.
8. Do you often check on your phone for updates such as SMS, phone calls or emails?
Frequency of checking mobile phone
No. of respondents
Not at all
Figure 4.8 shows the frequency of the respondents in checking their mobile phone. 38% which is 76 of the 200 respondents often check their mobile phone for updates. 31% of the respondents check their mobile phone occasionally whilst 27% which is 54 of them only check their mobile phone sometimes. 4% of the respondents rarely check their mobile phone.
From figure 4.8, it has shown that respondents often check their mobile phone for update which occupies 38% in the study.
9. How often do you upgrade your mobile software?
Upgrade of software
No. of respondents
When it is available
Once a month
Every 6 month
Once a year
Figure 4.9 shows the frequency of the respondents in upgrading their mobile software. 51% of the respondents update their mobile software when there is an availability of new software. 11% of the respondents upgrade their mobile software once in a month whereas 14% of the respondents upgrade their mobile software once in a half year. There are 19% of the respondents never upgrade their mobile software.
From the study, there is a significance difference between respondents who upgrade their mobile software when it is available and respondents who never upgrade their software. The frequency of respondents in upgrading mobile software when it is available stands the highest percentage which is 51%. However, respondents who never upgrade their mobile software are dominating in the second place which occupies 51% of the total respondents in this study.
10. What is the mode of your mobile phone when you are attending classes?
Mode of mobile phone
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10 shows that the mode of mobile phone of respondents when they are attending their class. 18% of the respondents remain their mobile phone on when they are attending class while 8% of them switch off their mobile phone. 74% of the respondents which is 158 out of 200 of them turn their mobile phone into silent mode.
From this figure, it shows that majority of the respondents turn their mobile phone to silent mode when they are attending class. However, respondents who turn their mobile phone off occupy the least amount which is only 8% of the total study.
10 a.) Whenever I found my mobile phone is running out of battery, I feel panic and
want to charge it immediately.
Panic when mobile phone out of battery
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(a) shows the extent of panic of respondents when their mobile phone is out of battery. 22% of the respondents strongly agree that they feel panic when their mobile phone is running out of battery, 37% of them agree that they feel panic when their mobile phone is running out of battery. 32% of them do not get affected if their mobile phone is out of battery or not. 7% of the respondents disagree that they feel panic when their mobile phone run out of battery and 2% of them strongly disagree on this statement.
In other words, majority respondents which are 74 of them out of 200 respondents agree that they feel panic when their mobile phone runs out of battery which on the other hand only 6 respondents who strongly disagree on this statement which is the least amount compared to others.
10 b.) Mobile phone is necessary tool in keeping contact with my friends and family.
Mobile phone is an important tool to keep in touch with family and friends
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(b) shows the extent of agreement on the statement on "mobile phone is an important tool to keep in touch with family and friends". 41% of the respondents strongly agree on this statement, 45% of the respondent agree on this statement while 11% of them pick neutral for their answer on this statement. 2% of the respondents disagree and only 1% of the respondent strongly disagrees on this statement.
Respondents who strongly disagree on this statement occupy the least amount in this study whilst there is the highest amounts of respondent who agree on this statement instead of strongly agree.
10 c.) I kept my mobile phones either in the pocket of shirt or jeans close to my
body so that I feel of constant touch with my mobile phone.
I kept mobile phone close to body to feel constant touch with it
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(c) shows the result on the statement, "I kept my mobile phone close to body to feel constant touch with it". 25% of the respondents strongly agree with this statement while 42% of them agree with this statement. 23% of respondents do not get affected much. 8% of respondents disagree on this statement and 2% of them strongly disagree on this statement.
Respondents who agree with this statement occupy the highest percentage which is 42% compared to those who strongly agree with it which is 25% Respondents who strongly disagree with this statement occupy the lowest percentage which is 2%, 4 respondents.
10 d.) I feel anxious when my mobile phone is running out of credit.
I feel anxious when mobile phone is out of credit
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(d) shows the degree of agreement on the statement "I feel anxious when mobile phone is out of credit". 20% of the respondents strongly agree with this statement. 16% of the respondents agree with this statement whilst 41% of them feel neutral on this statement. For respondents who disagree with this statement, it shows a total percentage of 16 and 7% for strongly disagree.
Respondents who feel neutral on this statement occupy the highest amount in this study while respondents who strongly disagree on this statement have the least amount.
10 e.) I feel demotivated when there is poor reception of my phone network.
I feel demotivated when there is poor reception network of mobile phone
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(e) shows the degree of agreement on the statement "I feel demotivated when there is poor reception network of mobile phone". 17% of the respondents strongly agree with this statement. 27% of the respondents agree with this statement whilst 39% of them feel neutral on this statement. For respondents who disagree with this statement, it shows a total percentage of 15 and 2% for strongly disagree.
The highest percentage of agreement on this statement is 39% on feeling neutral towards this statement and lowest percentage which is 2% on strongly disagreeing.
10 f.) I immediately answer the incoming calls even while attending classes.
I immediately answer calls even when I'm attending class
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(f) shows the degree of agreement on the statement "I immediately answer call even when I'm attending class". 9% of the respondents strongly agree with this statement. 17% of the respondents agree with this statement whilst 31% of them feel neutral on this statement. For respondents who disagree with this statement, it shows a total percentage of 15 and 8% for strongly disagree.
In this figure, it shows that the disagreement on this statement has the highest percentage with a total of 35%.
10 g.) I keep my mobile phone on even when I am sleeping.
I keep my mobile phone on when I'm sleeping
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(g) shows the degree of agreement on the statement "I keep my mobile phone on when I'm sleeping". 23% of the respondents strongly agree with this statement. 44% of the respondents agree with this statement whilst 21% of them feel neutral on this statement. For respondents who disagree with this statement, it shows a total percentage of 7 and 5% for strongly disagree.
Majority of the respondents agree on this statement which is 44% of them and only 5% of the total respondents disagree on this statement which is the least amount.
10 h.) I feel unsecure and panic when my mobile phone is not around me.
I feel insecure and panic when my mobile phone is not around
No. of respondents
Figure 4.10(h) shows the degree of agreement on the statement "I feel insecure and panic when my mobile phone is not around". 25% of the respondents strongly agree with this statement. 29% of the respondents agree with this statement whilst 33% of them feel neutral on this statement. For respondents who disagree with this statement, it shows a total percentage of 21 and 10% for strongly disagree.
Majority of the respondents neither agree nor disagree on this statement which is 33% of them and only 3% of the respondents strongly disagree on this statement which is the least amount.
11. Do you find yourself having the following symptoms when your mobile phone is
not around you or when you lost your mobile phone?
Anxious and start looking around
Heartbeat accelerate and chest pain
Trembling and sweating
Do not bother
Figure 4.11 shows the symptoms that the respondents come across when they lose their mobile phone or when their mobile phone is not around. 55% of the respondents feel anxious and start looking around when they lose their mobile phone or they cannot find their mobile phone. 12% of them undergo an acceleration of heartbeat and feel chest pain when they lose or cannot find their mobile phone. 16% of the respondents will start to tremble and sweat when the situation occurs. However, 17% of the respondents do not get affected even if they cannot find or lose their mobile phone.
In summary, the respondents of this research are mostly Chinese and most of them are aged in between 21 to 24. There is 47.5% of male respondents and 52.5% of female respondents. Most of the respondents own a mobile phone and majority of it are smart phones. 81% of respondents feel that their mobile phone is important to them because they agree that mobile phone is an important tool to keep in touch with friends and family. Most of the respondents use their mobile phones to text messages and make calls. Checking on mobile phone updates are a common habit for the respondents as majority of them check on their mobile phone for updates frequently. Respondents tend to keep their phone on when they are sleeping but most of them will not answer call when attending class. Majority of the respondents will have symptoms such as anxious, trembling, sweating and chest pain when they could not find their mobile phone. Besides, most of the respondents neither agree nor disagree on the statement of keeping mobile phone close to their body either in the pocket of their jeans or shirt to feel constant touch with it.
Chapter 5 Discussions
Summary of the results
In concluding the data collected, majority of the Penang college students at least on a mobile phone. However, there are students who own 2 mobile phones or more. In this context, majority of the Penang college students today are owning smartphones yet there are still students who own a common mobile phone which is non-smart phone. Looking into this, most of the Penang college students think that mobile phone is important to them as majority of these students use it to text message. However, the second largest amount of activities done by Penang college students through their mobile phone is making phone calls. This is followed by taking photos, surfing the internet, sending e-mails, playing games and listening to music. Surprisingly, some of the Penang college students use their mobile phone to check on the time, watch video and see their family photos. Today, Penang college students often check on their mobile phone for any updates. Also, majority of the Penang college students upgrade their mobile software when there is new software available. As most of the Penang college students think that mobile phone is important for them, majority of them remain their mobile phone on by setting it into silent mode even when they are attending class. In this study, majority of the Penang college students agree that they do feel panic when their mobile phone is running out of battery and they want to charge it immediately. As majority of the Penang college students agree that mobile phone is a necessary tool in keeping contact with their family and friends, they accede that by keeping their mobile phones either in their pocket of shirt or jeans close to their body, they feel of constant touch. In this study, majority of the students do not really get affected when their mobile phone is out of credit which result them in a neutral emotional state. Moreover, majority of the Penang college students neither agree nor disagree on the statement of they feel demotivated when there is poor reception network of their mobile phone. Although majority of Penang college students agree that mobile phone is important to them, most of them do not immediately answer calls when they are attending class. In this study, data has shown that majority of them keep their mobile phone on when they are sleeping. Besides, Penang college students neither agree nor disagree on the statement on they feel panic when their mobile phone is not around them. However, majority of them started to feel anxious and begin to look around for their mobile phones when they cannot find it.
Mobile phones are keen to increase their importance among the Penang college students. This research revealed several observations on Penang college students as majority mobile service consumers, providing useful insights to the contribution of Nomophobia. As the importance of mobile phone is increasing due to its advancement, the possibility of college students exposed to the phenomenon Nomophobia tend to increase too. The reason on why college students are likely to be affected because they are majority users of mobile phones today. Looking into the data collected in this study, mobile phone is important to Penang college students today. In reviewing the sub objective of this study, results show that some of them tend to get more than one mobile phone. This has reflected on a phenomenon whereby every Penang college students own a mobile phone. As the study reviewed earlier, the reason why these young people are getting more than one mobile phone is mainly due to the needs of security. This means, with their mobile phone, they tend to feel more secure and safer.
Nowadays, mobile phones had improved their functions to be more advanced. This has indeed increased the attachment of the majority users which here refers to the college students to their mobile phone. In this study, Penang college students usually used their mobile phone to text message and make phone calls. As text messaging and making calls are the activities in which Penang college students are more attached to, this has resulted that they tend to check their mobile phone frequently for SMS (Short message service), and phone calls. The tendency of checking mobile phone frequently can easily contribute to Nomophobia as Nomophobia recognizes the symptoms on obsessively checking phones. This issue is also one of the sub objective mentioned in Chapter 1.
Since mobile phone has transformed into such an important tool in keeping contact with friends and family today in the perspective of Penang college students in this study, they choose not to turn off their phone but switch it to the silent mood. Even if they are sleeping, they keep their mobile phone on. Recognising the symptoms of Nomophobia, Nomophobic keep their mobile phone on on a 24-hour basis in order to keep updated from the social world. In this study, most of the Penang college students feel panic when they found out that their mobile phone is undergoing battery exhaustion. Moreover, they prefer to keep their mobile phone in the pocket of their shirt and jeans to feel of contact to their mobile phone.
Like mention in one of the symptoms of Nomophobia, one will start to feel panic and begin to look around for their mobile phone when they lost it. Looking into the sub objective of this study, majority of Penang college students feel anxious and then start to look around for their mobile phone. This means, Penang college students are exposing themselves in getting rid of Nomophobia.
However, Penang college students neither feel anxious nor calm when their mobile phone is running out of credit. In fact, the inclination of the signing of data plan is occurring in today's world instead of the use of prepaid by topping up. In additional, Penang college students do not feel demotivated or motivated when there is poor rec