1.1 Background to the study
Globalization has changed our lives and one of the ways in which it is changing our lives, everyday, is how we communicate; thanks to advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). One of the ICT’s which is seeing rapid advancement is Mobile Phone. Mobile phone is popular since the late 1990s (Meek, 2006) and today, with 7 billion mobile connections worldwide and unique mobile subscriptions of over 3.5 billion (Twum, 2011), they are very popular with young people and are commonplace in our educational institutions. These phones are no more just voice communication tools. Functions like short message service (SMS) or texting have become global phenomenon. Not many of us keep wallet photos of loved ones.
Internets have become an almost essential part of daily life since their rapid growth in popularity in the late 1990s, Ling (2004). A nationwide survey conducted in 2010 shows that internets are the most necessary medium of communication for students. It has virtually affected the society’s accessibility, security, safety and coordination of business and social activities and has hence become a part of culture of the whole world. Ling (2004), states that traditional agents of socialization are families and schools. With the expansion of educational system as a result of the need for highly skilled workers lead to the school system taking increasing larger responsibilities in socialization. Surprisingly, research on the influence of internet on our schools today has not been given much attention. There is the conflicting priority of young people, parents and teachers in relation to the internet device, with teachers more concerned about issues such as discipline in the classroom and parents worried about means of contacting their children at every point in time.
Ling (2004) discovered that the use of internet in schools is problematic. As Ling and Helmerson (2000) states, the internet is “at cross purpose with the mission of the school”. While in school students are supposed to take on their prescribed roles as students with full concentration on their studies and free from contact with the outside world. However, the
internet gives room to blending students’ roles with other roles thus distracting and disrupting the students’ academic work (Gergen, 2002; Halpen,2003; &Franzini, 2002). In the past when fixed telephones were the norm in schools, there were minimum distractions and disruptions but presently with the invasion of internet and the eagerness of parents to maintain contact with their wards, the device is becoming part of the classroom. Thus, the internet has the power to undermine the schools’ authority and weaken their control over students as well as affects their level of academic performances.
The recent technological advancements, the innovation of computer and other discoveries in the field of information technology bring about the introduction of the mobile phone and its multi functions ranging from voice calls, messaging, data use, multimedia, games (both online and offline) and other social media services(Jackson, Zhao, Kolenic, Fityerald,Herold,&Venoye, 2008). The mobile phone is used as means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks (Blumstock& Eagle, 2010). It also uses a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 that allows the creation and exchange of user-generated contents(Mayer&Mereno, 2003).
Furthermore, the mobile phone is used for storing different contents on the micro SD cards or the phones’ internal memory (Meek, 2006).Over the past decade, technology has become increasingly important in the lives of students. As a group, students are heavy users of newer electronic communication forms such as instant messaging, e-mail, browsing, uploading and downloading, games and text messaging, as well as communication-oriented Internet sites such as blogs, internet, and other sites for sharing photos, videos and ideas, all of which is as a result of the mobile phone.