Mobile Phones, Technology and Their Impact on Relationships, Social Movements and Education

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Mobile Phones, Technology and their Impact on Relationships, Social Movements and Education

Mobile phones and technology have come a long way over the years, people’s lives have become more demanding and they rely more and more on technology, it has had a big impact on our everyday life: our relationships, social movements and education. The mobile phone has become one the most widespread and popular pieces of technology of the past few decades. ‘Worldwide there are now over 1.7 billion cell phone accounts, 600 million more cell phones services than fixed lines.’ (Castells et al. 2007 as cited in Bittman, M, Brown, J, Wajcman, J, 2009) Over the past decade, the information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially the Internet and mobile communication, have changed the way people work, play, learn and communicate. (Lee, P, Leung, L, Venhwei, L, Xiong, C, 2008, p 458). With 3G technology, the mobile phone has become not just a means of communication but a way to send and receive data, videos, music, access the Internet and more. The mobile phone has become a necessary part of our everyday life, according to a study done by Bittman, M et al (2009, p. 232) ‘the mobile phone is primarily a device used for social connectedness, extending the role of the fixed-line telephone as means of ‘staying in touch’ with intimates (family and friends).’ It has allowed the world to become a smaller place by allowing people to become connected.

Technology and mobile phone have had a big impact on our relationships, especially family life. The mobile phone has allowed for more spontaneous and frequent communication between family members (Lanigan, J, 2009). It allows family members, lovers, and friends to have instant contact through voice, text messages and email and allows for spontaneous planning of impromptu meetings and activities. According to Bittman, M et al (2008, p 648) “the mobile phone significantly increases people’s capacity to maintain intimacy at a distance and over the course of the day… This capacity for perpetual contact gives rise to new forms of intimacy, such as forming, deepening and dissolving relationships via SMS messages and enhancing the ability to be communicatively present while being physically absent.” It allows parents to check on their children and for children to be able to contact their parents. The Internet has also allowed people to form online relationships with ‘virtual’ friends. “A major research study published in December 2008 on the use of digital technologies by adults from 16 industrialised nations suggests that “on average [they] spend a third of their leisure time online, belong to two social networking sites and have regular contact with 16 people who they have ‘virtually’ met on the internet” (TNS 2008, 2 as cited in Harrison, R, 2009, p. 110). These kinds of relationships while may seem harmless have had negative effects; people cheating on partners with people they have met online and teenagers becoming obsessed with Social Networking Sites, constantly checking and updating their ‘status’ and messages.

Social movements have been affected in regards to it becoming easier to organise protests through the use of mobile phones and Internet to promote awareness of a cause and issues that affect society and the world. It’s faster, cheaper and easier and you can reach a wider audience with the use of social networking sites. People also have the chance to interact, have their say and join in on debates. ‘At their core, social movements are about group formation, and suddenly the tools exist to make it much easier to bring people together’ (Brecher, J, Costello, T, Smith, B, 2009) The internet has also become more simpler and easier to use, allowing people who would never before have gone online to access social networking sites and form or join groups. ‘The web is no longer the exclusive dominion of the young and highly educated, and as this trend continues it will allow social...
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