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The Director of Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


From: Sanisah Binti Shafie @Musa, the Manager of Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

Date: 17 July 2013


This report is written in response to the rapid in mobile phone use in recent years. No matter how younger or older the mobile phones users, it has transformed the way people live, communicate and get socialized. Recently in Malaysia, the students are allowed to bring their mobile phones to the school and this situation shown that the mobile phone relatively become more important and useful even the user is still in the young age. Positively, this permission make easier especially for parents or guidance to contact their children if any emergency cases occur. Even though some people saying that this consent is good in terms of communication purpose, in contrast mobile phones also can be the cause of social as well as medical problems. Regarding to this matter, I believe that through analysis and observation that I have done may give a wide view to the society so that they can have a better understanding and get ready to take a small changes effort at least to themselves and their families in encountering this problem matter. In this report, I have put forward the analysis which has been done by International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction (IJHCI) which they stand out with a lot points of view based on the research they have done regarding the usage of mobile phones among the Malaysians.

In 20 th century, thousands and billions mobile phones are sold in the market. The mobile phones producer chasing on one another in inventing the latest mobile phones model and applications installed. This situation happen because of people, mostly the producers itself want to tackle the market and gain a very high profit. In addition, nowadays the demand of mobile phones relatively higher among the teenagers since the mobiles phones is sold in an affordable price. This situation has to be worried for since the teenagers are easily attracted towards a new thing and in addition their high sense of knowing make them easily attracted to explore the mobile phones which have newly invented and more attractive applications installed. Thus, if parents are not taking a responsibility to observe and monitor their children activities, then their children probably may use the mobile phones in a wrong way and as a result, many problems such as social and juvenile problem possibly happen in the future.

Though, in fact the mobile phones give a lot of advantages such as for communicational purpose, surfing the internet and taking pictures and videos; the mobile phone users also will

suffer the disadvantages from this kind of high-technology gadget. In sum, this report will focus on the social and medical effect caused by the usage of mobile phones. Besides, based on the scenario discussed there will be the suggested actions and recommendations that might be taken in solving these problems.

Statistical Analysis on Mobile Phones Usage

Mobile phone is electronic gadget that well-developed and achieved more than billions user around the world. According to a statistic done by International Journal of Human- Computer Interaction (IJHCI), a phenomenal growth of the global mobile phone subscription have shown a total growth of 5.2 billion at the end of 2010 as compared in 2003 was 1.4 billion. In Malaysia itself, approximately 34.5 million mobile phone subscribers recorded. (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, MCMC, 2010). Long decades ago, mobile phone was used as communicational purpose only which used to make a call and receive a call. Nowadays, mobile phone is no longer as communication gadget but more than that. People use the mobile phone to send text messages, surfing the internet, GPS system, praying reminder, playing games and also keeping a pet inside their phones! A massive growth of mobile phone subscriptions is widespread for all over the world and not even expand among the urban population but also expand in the rural areas. (Chu Yin Wong, 2011). Hence, it is not surprisingly if we say that the development of mobile phones market keep increasing year by year. In five years back, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was conducted a survey which revealed that Malaysia ranked second in ASEAN in term of number of mobile phone users. From this survey, it revealed that those with ranging age from 20 to 49 years are the main users of the mobile phones. The high demand of using the mobile phones on different age range is depend on their preferences. Some of them use the mobile phone because of the brand of the phones itself. While others prefer to use the mobile phones as communication purpose, attracted with the mobile phone’s design as well as the applications installed.

Furthermore, we can see that the target market of the mobile phone buyer is students and teenagers. Mostly, the age range between 13 to 20 years old have a very high demand on the high-tech gadget. Their preference which are like to explore, experience and learn new things make the mobile phone in the market are never ending. Furthermore, it not saying that adult are

not so well-interest in the gadget but based on analysis done by International Journal of Human- Computer Interaction (IJHCI),2011 old citizen also looking forward high-tech gadget and advance application installed in their mobile phones. But, many of them in the age between 60 to 70 years old are just want a very simple feature built-in in the mobile phones are more than just enough to give many advantages to the old citizens to use the mobile phones better. Mostly, they just use the mobile phones to have a voice call to stay keep in touch with their family members, relatives and friends.

For business people, mobile phones are very important in arranging their appointments. Mobile phones become the diary and activity planner. Thus, this could help the businessman to organize their time well. On the other hands, mobile phones become frequently use in delivering message faster regardless of time and place. Just using one gadget, all activities like sending videos, pictures and documents files are able to be sent in one time so it very convenient to have a mobile.

Social and Medical Problems

Even though technology makes our live simpler and better, it still gives side effects if we lose control the usage. Thus, even the mobile phone is increase the effectiveness of people’s daily activities it may occur many problems especially in terms of social and medical problems. Furthermore, a detail review about advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones supposedly stated clearly so that, a few reasonable actions would be taken in order to overcome these arising problems. Furthermore, the mobile phones also give a few disadvantages instead of a lot of advantages they offer to the user. For the bad thing is, under uncontrolled mobile phones usage among the teenagers specifically may bring caused they use that gadget to do the wrong thing. Nowadays, just having a mobile phone they are able to surf the internet, using the camera, record a video, playing songs and games and many more. The teenagers are likely to enjoy playing games or chatting with their fiends rather than to fulfill their time with study. Thus, the good thing of the features installed in this gadget caused to bad thing depends on the user itself.

According to the President of National Union of the Teaching Profession Malaysia (NUTP), Ismail Nihat there are point of views stated that students are like to spend their time by

playing the games installed in the phones besides break the school discipline such as taking immoral picture (Azran Jaafar, Berita Minggu:22 January 2006).

The active usage of mobile phones among parents will bring to less communication in a family. Parents are enjoy to communicate with their friends, their co-workers, clients or cyber friends rather than spending their time chatting with their spouse and children. This situation will make loose family relationship. The children also are likely preferred to share their problems with other people rather than their own family members. No more family bonding exists and hence mostly children will feel that their parents are not care about them anymore. Consequently, it is not surprisingly many teenagers are involved in social problems nowadays.

In addition, according to ex-Education Director, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Arshad he believed that the usage of mobile phones will create a barrier between poor and rich students. This situation may create a bad consequences and perhaps non-harmonize school environment. (Utusan Malaysia Online, 2006).

An active usage of mobile phones among the workers while working in the office may reduce the productivity. In addition, the workers become non-productive workers and this kind of habit is not good for the company’s performance. The addiction of mobile phones may cause to less production. They will spend more their time to chatting, playing games, watching videos and many more just by using their mobile phones. These workers will not doing well in their job and as a result they may have been fired. Due to that, those workers are unemployed and have to find a new job to gain income to support their commitments.

A tremendously increased in the number of mobile phone users will expose the users to radiofrequency electromagnet radiation (RF-EMR) in daily basis. The safety of RF-EMR is being questioning either it safe for human being or not. Some research has suggested that microwave radiation from the mobile phones encourage to chromosomal instability and lead to increased cancer risk. (Maneesh Mailankot,(et. al) 2009).

In medical perspective, there was a medical research which was done by World Health Organisation (WHO) on 31 May 2011, WHO has classified that Electromagnet wave (EM) called Carcinogen released by mobile phones might cause the growth of cancer disease in

human’s body tissue. The research has done by 31 researchers from 14 different countries which

revealed that EM wave from the mobile phones may increase the risk of Glioma which is a type of brain tumor.(Norbahiah Misran,, 2012). Overall, this symptom might occur based on the active level of mobile phone usage among the human itself. Thus, this research shows that mobile phones have electromagnet wave that is not good for human body. This wave may cause brain tumor and as the consequence to any dangerous diseases could be happened if the mobile phones users are still use their mobile phones in a long period per day.













Zulkefly&Rozumah Baharudin, 2009 in their article stated that;

“Data from the study suggested that students who demonstrate problematic

mobile phone behavior would also experience psychological problems. This finding tend to suggests that addiction or degree of attachment towards the mobile phone would cause students to experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression or even lack of sleep, which would interfere with their overall

psychological functioning. This study concurs with other studies on the negative impact of addictive behavior and inadequate sleep on one’s psychological health”.

An addictive mobile phone usage could cause disturbance in students’ sleeping pattern.

(Van den Bulck, 2003). This addictive behavior would make that student keep checking their mobile phones in the middle of night. This happens due to the feeling of cautious and worry if they missed any voice calls or messages from their friends. According to a research published on “The Independent” newspaper, the result shown that the mobile phone usage among the teenagers and students are mostly concerned. Most of them did not have enough sleep at night. Hence, when the students did not have enough sleeping time they intend to have a personality and mood changes, anxiety, lack of attention in the classroom and worsen the academic result. (, 2008).

In medical perspective, mobile phone may give side effect in terms of human’s production. For men, it is not good for them to keep their mobile phones in their pocket for a long time. This is because based on a medical research, an electromagnet radiation from the mobile phones might affect the production of sperms.(Maneesh Mailankot,, 2009). In

addition, other research also has made a conclusion that pregnant woman should reducing the time of using the mobile phones. In fact, the exposure of an electromagnet waves which produced by mobile phones on prenatal and post natal may caused to headache among the children. Even the result may vary to one another, in conclusion high exposure to that electromagnet waves may lead to health problems either the baby in the womb or the mother itself. (Madhuri Sudan,, 2012).

Recommendations and Remedies

Overall as take a look on the analysis and the trend of the society regarding the usage of mobile phones in their daily life, I can say that the mobile phones are not easily to diminish. However, the usage of the mobile phones itself can be controlled and reduce. Even nowadays all the children are exposed to this kind of gadget in the early of age and somehow some parents already bought a tab, I-pad or even a small laptop to their small kids.

The first recommendation that I would like to suggest is control the time usage of the mobile phones. It might be helpful if parents set a time limit for their children to play games, or having a chit chat with their friends. Maybe two times a week after their finishing their homework is more than enough to them. In addition, it becomes a reward to the children once they got to finish their homework and also children will feel appreciated because their parents take the promise and still give a freedom for them to enjoy what they like most even they have to follow rules and regulations.

In working field, the mobile phones also may become a destructive gadget especially when a meeting is in a progress. The leader or employer of any company should highlight the good manner and discipline to their employees and co-workers before any meeting started. In contrast, the employee itself should follow the instructions given in order to ensure the smoothness of the meeting and more, indirectly they showing a good behavior to others.

Parents are suggested to choose pre paid as mode of phone’s bill payment rather than

using post paid. This is to ensure that their children learn to limit the mobile phone usage and at the same the children will learn to save the money and parents are able to control their expenses.


Even the mobile phones give a few disadvantages but still the advantages of the mobile phones dominate them and most of the disadvantages are the ones created by people themselves. Thus, we should try to make use of its good assets rather than making it work against us. Furthermore, the society and our government should take this matter seriously and start to take any reasonable actions in order to solve this matter. In sum, parents and the employer of company should take any reasonable actions to ensure the children as well as employees are not misused the technology that supposedly should make human’s life better. On the other hand, the mobile phones producer and the government should work together to ensure that there will be win-win situation among both parties.

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Ahmad Puhad Bin Alim&Nazatul Akma Binti Zakaria. 2010. Persepsi Ibu Bapa Melayu Muslim Bandar Terhadap Penggunaan Telefon Bimbit Dalam Kalangan Pelajar Sekolah Menengah.

Vimala Balakrishnan& Ram Gopal Raj. 2012.Exploring the Relationship Between Urbanized Malaysian Youth and Their Mobile Phones: A Quantitative Approach

Chu Yin Wong, 2011, Exploring the Relationship between Mobile Phone and Senior Citizens: A Malaysian Perspective.

Madhuri Sudan, ( Prenatal and Postnatal Cell Phone Exposures and Headaches in Children.

Sheereen Zulkefly & Rozumah Baharudin.2009. Mobile Phone use Amongst Students in a University in Malaysia: Its Correlates and Relationship to Psychological Health.

Manish Mailankot,( 2009. Radio Frequency Electromagnet Radiation (RF-EMR) From GSM (0.9/1.8GHZ) Mobile Phones Induces Oxidative Stress and Reduces Sperm Motility in Rats.