You are on page 1of 9


The convergence of communication and computing for mobile consumer
devices is on the evolutionary course to bring interoperability and leverage the services
and functions from each and every industry. In this process of convergence the
Smartphone’s are the leading devices taking the front end and playing the role of
universal mobile terminal. As a marketing strategy the Smartphone term was
introduced in the market, referring a new class of mobile phones that provides
integrated services from communication, computing and mobile sectors including voice
communication, messaging, personal information management (PIM) applications and
wireless communication capability. In real sense, Smartphone is a mobile phone with
advanced features and functionality beyond traditional functionalities like making
phone calls and sending text messages. The Smartphone are equipped with the
capabilities to display photos, play games, play videos, navigation, built-in camera,
audio/video playback and recording, send/receive e-mail, built in apps for social web
sites and surf the Web, wireless Internet and much more. Due to same reasons the
Smartphone’s now become a common choice for consumers along with the use in
business as it was initially intended for business users only. The latest surveys show
that the popularity of Smartphone’s is increasing in general public with the more paces
then it is increasing in Corporations. Initially the Smartphone’s were only perceived for
business use due to their cost and application, but not today, today we are in a frenetic

With the growing number of gadgets embedded in modern mobile phones
(particularly 3Gand 4G phones ) such as the MP3, Internet, Camera (still and video),
TV, and the decrease in the size and the price of such devices, mobile phones have
become omnipresent. The mobile phone is an anytime and anywhere tool, boosting the
tendency to do things discreetly as well as openly. The internet has removed
geographical boundaries and so have mobile phones that has blurred the borders
between public and private lives (Caronia & Caron, 2004). Itis very common to see
people talking about personal issues whilst using mobile phones in front of strangers
and also using the same inaudibly (such as text messaging) in the presence of their
families and friends. The fact is, with the use of cell phones, people sometimes lose the
capacity to manage the boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate usage (Ling,
1997). This means that cell phones have not only blurred the boundaries of lives but

have also shifted the borders of usage. How much cell phones have influenced children
and teenagers’ on blurring the boundaries between their public and private lives.

2.0 Impact of Smart Phone to Children
The new digital environment presented an exceptional array of possibilities for
communication, interaction, and information retrieval at the fingertips that was never
before available’ (Montgomery, 2007). It is a general understanding that mobile phones
have fastened the society in various aspects through its variety of functionalities. While
cell phone expansion is at ‘breath-taking speed’ (Geser, 2004), SMS through cell
phones is pervading ‘like a wild-fire’ (Vaidyanathan & Latu, 2007).

2.1 Impact of Smart Phone to Identity and Self-Esteem
Identity is central to new communication, for it is a common trope of the
literature that new media bring about fundamental transformations in the way our
sense of our self is developed and in the role that identity plays in social interactions
and social situations (Cavanagh, 2007).

‘Mobile phone is a medium for the assertion of its own identity and
autonomy’ (Srivastava, 2004). The possibility to maintain intense and informal social
networks through mobile phones is the main force for teens to stay connected with
this device. It not only provides social interaction but also provides the individual
with a sense of self (Ling, 2004). Therefore, mobile phones have become a symbol of
identity and a symbol of status to explore their possible selves and to cultivate a
private self. A quest/thirst for this identity is one of the vital and fundamental changes
that teens undergo in their transition periods of biological, cognitive and emotional
changes (Montgomery, 2007; Srivastava, 2004). The mobile phone serves as an
emblem or a token, for teens.
The findings from a video ethnography, supplement the facts of how a mobile
phone is used by a teenager for identity purposes and is summarised by the author as
‘to strike a stancetaking self amid the contradictions of post-modern home life’ (Tutt,
2005). Self-identity and individuality, the distinctive features of adolescence, could
be the key reasons that trigger teens to possess a mobile phone. Caronia and Caron

(2004) added that the mobile phone resulted in a ‘drastic’ social performance and is
perceived to be a ‘detonator’ of social thinking. ‘Cell phone provokes reflective
thinking on the ethics, etiquette and aesthetics of everyday action and social life that
includes identity-making processes such as presentation of oneself on a public scene’
(Caronia & Caron, 2004).

The authors note that adopting a technology is beyond the matter of acquiring
and applying technical knowledge. It involves a high degree of social knowledge
concerning when, where, and for what purposes. To put it simply, it is a matter of a
specific form of communicative competence that plays a vital role in the process of
identity-making (Caronia & Caron, 2004).

Thus, identity for a teenager is also associated with a set of conventions
associated with the usage of mobile phones along with its possession, particularly in
the context of popularity. Considering the context of popularity via cell phones in a
peer group networking is its ‘quantification of popularity’. The capacity to send and
receive messages and the facility to enter several numbers in the automated dialling
registers in mobile phones actually help teens to measure and quantify their
popularity. Adolescents who spend time with friends exhibit a higher sense of self-
esteem (Ling & Yttri, 2003) and hence mobile phones add a dimension of confidence
that adds value to their identity.

2.2 Impact of Smart Phone to Family Relationship
The collective identity of a family or people living at the same place has been
diluted through the use of member’s individual mobile phones. In other words, unity
has given way to a multiplicity of channels. and hence, the identity of the family unit
becomes less about ‘oneness’ and more about ‘many-ness’ (Srivastava, 2004).
Society is a web that is comprised of rituals, experiences, emotions, power and
relationships (both static and dynamic). All these aspects, in fact, contribute to the
bonding of a society and are also witnessed within a family. The relationship between
parent and teenager is never static. Traditions in society, the legal relational power
system, familial structure and hierarchical dimensions all have an influence in a
relationship between parents and teenagers.

The roles of both parents and teenagers operate within these confines (Ling &
Yttri, 2003). Hence, parent-teenager relationship tends to be more dynamic and
matures with the age of the teenager. A 13 year old is at the entry level of adolescence
(stepping into adulthood), whereas an 18 year old is considered to be more mature
(transitioned deeper into adulthood). Hence, the bonding between parent and the
teenager varies and is highly dependent on the age of the teenager (Rosenberg &
Turner, 1981).

The two Cs - Communication and Coordination - are the main activities that
trigger a connection in a society. A family is a mini society and bonding usually
begins at home (Vaidyanathan & Latu, 2007). ‘Family functioning is a measure of the
whole-family unit in the context of whole-family interaction’ (Wise, 2003). Ling says
that the intensity and weight of interaction welds the social group together, while
Vaidyanathan and Latu (2007) add that the presence of the two Cs ties parents and
children together. ‘One of the crucial issues of adolescence is emancipation from
one’s parents and the establishment of one’s independence (Ling, 2001). It is a period
in which parents and teens go progressively on their separate ways and, especially for
teens, the peer group is a fundamental institution’ (Ling, 2007).

Linking the dimension of de-location mentioned by Caronia and Caron
(2004), to the context of communication in a family, Srivastava (2004) feels that
there is a decrease in the use of landlines where the connection is mostly ‘via’ and
resulted in increase in the use of mobile phones where the connection is ‘direct’.
Hence, mobile phones are more personal as they directly connect the call sender and
the call receiver. In addition, mobile phones have the added feature of being able to
be switched off which gives freedom and convenience to the mobile phone call
receiver who can filter calls. This facility of identifying the caller even before picking
up the phone has, in fact, given birth to a vital societal transformation.

Thus, ‘The ability to quickly coordinate activities in a complex society is
probably the most significant contribution of the mobile telephone’ (Ling, 2004). In
addition to quick communication, for a better understanding and a healthier
relationship, a face-to-face interaction is emphasized because especially adults
consider this type of communication automatically superior than other modes of

communication (Livingstone & Bober, 2005). Referring to Engelstad (n.d), the
‘power’ and ‘control’ both from teenager and parent’s perspective has been analysed
and proved legitimate. From a teenager’s perspective it is the period that is
characterized by desire for freedom and on the other side, from a parent’s angle, it is
the desire to instigate their offspring on a sustainable path. Hence the power of push
and pull perceptions of one over the other is considered justifiable (Ling & Yttri,

‘Adolescence is a time in which the child is engaged in the establishment of
their own identity, sometimes in the form of a revolution against the world of their
parents’ (Ling, 2001). In this adolescent phase, mobile phones allow a channel for
communication that is free from the supervision of one’s parents, the opportunity for
individualization. At the same time it leads teenagers to engage in orientation and
networking with peers (Ling, 2001).

On the other hand, findings from the research carried out in Cardiff, UK,
revealed that mobile phones enabled the shift from traditional parental authority such
as setting boundaries to teenagers (the power and push perceptions mentioned by
Ling and Yttri (2003), to a more liberal approach such as working on negotiations
(Williams & Williams, 2005). Hence, it could be summarised that the relationships
especially between parents and teenagers tend to become more informal with
boundaries blurred, discussions happening two-way and restrictions such as house
rules being more relaxed. Tutt’s (2005) findings reveal that, ‘mobile phone is a key
communication and performance tool with which teenagers strike a balance between
abiding by and opposing house rules’ (p.60). The mobile phone is associated to an
umbilical cord between parent and child (using mobile phone). This discrete link
gives freedom as well as keeps an eye on the child that enables teenagers move feely
within the parameters of home (private) or away (public) (Ling, 2004).

2.3 Impact of Smart Phone to Health
‘The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) accepted that
mobile phone radiation may produce biological effects, but it did not think that such
radiation caused adverse health effects’ (Maier, 2006). ‘A mobile handset represents a

significant source of RF field exposure, because of the presence of the phone-
transmitting antenna close to head, neck, and hand of the user’ (Krewski et al., 2007).
Findings of a study in Sweden imply an increased risk of acoustic neuroma
associated with mobile phone use of at least 10 years’ duration, although they do not
indicate an increased risk related to short-term mobile phone use (Lonn, Ahlbom,
Hall, & Feychting, 2004). The risk is more with analogue phone users rather than the
users of digital or cordless phones. ‘However, use of either an analogue or a digital
phone on the same side of the head as the tumour was associated with an increased
risk of brain cancer’ (Krewski et al., 2007).

A case-control study was conducted in five US academic medical centres
between 1994 and 1998 on acoustic neuroma cases related to the use of mobile
phones. The findings revealed that there was a tendency to suffer from hearing
problems due to laterality effect on the side of the tumour (Muscat et al., 2000). With
regard to the radiation from the base stations, there is no scientific evidence that
radiation triggers cancer in people who are in proximity to the base stations.
However, ‘protracted exposure causes more pronounced effects than short exposures
of high intensity’ (Krewski et al., 2007). Even so, reports in The Sunday Times, dated
22nd April 2007, are alarming. Breast cancer among women, tumours among adults
and nosebleeds among young school children were some of the health issues that
were attributed to mobile phone masts that were in proximity for over 15 years
(Foggo & Chittenden, 2007). Another likely health risk is disproportionate headaches
and migraines due to exposure to mobile masts (Drake, 2006).

The Ecolog study published in Germany was given to the Human Ecological
Social Economic (HESE) project, UK, which examined the effect of electromagnetic
fields on health. Ecolog’s report, which analysed dozens of peer-reviewed studies,
stated: ‘Given the results of epidemiological studies, it can be concluded that
electromagnetic fields with frequencies in the mobile telecommunications range do
play a role in the development of cancer. This is particularly notable for tumours of
the central nervous system’ (Foggo, 2007).

Smartphones are incredibly advanced mobile phone types that feature many
different useful functions like portable cameras, media players, video recorders, and
even GPS units. These devices also feature a lot of applications that allow users to
accomplish different tasks like sending and receiving emails, engage in conference or
video calls, and play various video or online games. With highly technological benefits
like these, it is not surprising that even kids are drawn to the use of smartphones.
However, excessive use or addiction to smartphones can have detrimental effects on
children and their overall health and well-being.

Lots of parents let their kids carry and use smartphones even in their young,
formative years. The convenience and accessibility offered by these modern devices are
indeed advantageous for most people. But on its flip side, parents need to be aware of
the negative effects that smartphones can bring to their kids in the long run.

1) Smartphones detach kids from the true essence of social interaction
Smartphone games and applications designed for kids can actually discourage
them from interacting with other kids and people around them. Traditional
playtime may eventually be a thing of the past with the presence of all these
highly technological games.

2) Smartphones can weaken children’s eye sight
Excessive exposure to the use of smartphones at an early age can trigger poor
eye sight for kids. Their eyes would constantly have to adjust to the phone
screen which can also be a cause for headaches and even migraines at a very
young age.

3) Smartphones can affect brain development
The use of smartphones exposes children to the practice of clicking or jumping
from one option to another that trains them to gather small chunks of
information. This habit may be harmful to kids’ overall brain development.
They will be trained to switch from one topic to another quickly and it will be
hard for them to focus and concentrate on just one big chunk of information
when the situation calls for it.

4) Smartphone can have detrimental effects on children’s body
Online and video games are terribly addicting so it is highly likely that kids will
spend hours playing on smartphones if they get hooked on a particular game.
Thus, they might be discouraged from getting up from their seat and going out
to play with you or their friends. They can get overweight or develop other
body ailments that may arise from inadequate physical activities.

Thus, all this presents both challenge and opportunity for today’s parents. Just
when we thought we had the Internet under control, everything has gone mobile,
circumventing carefully installed parental controls and antivirus software on home
computers. Meanwhile, these mobile devices can be powerful tools for learning,
communicating and teaching kids responsibility. In this new mobile age, parents should
take steps to understand how mobile technology works and teach their children about
mobile safety and responsibility.


Daantje Derks, Lieke L. Ten Brummelhuis, Dino Zecic, And Arnold B. Bakker, 2012,
Switching On And Off. : Does Smartphone Use Obstruct The Possibility To Engage
In Recovery Activities?‖, European Journal Of Work And Organization Psychology,

Manoj Kumar, 2011, Impact Of The Evolution Of Smart Phones In Education Technology
And Its Application In Technical And Professional Studies: Indian Perspective,
International Journal Of Managing Information Technology (IJMIT), Vol.3, No.3,

Md. Rashedul Islam, Md. Rofiqul Islam,Tahidul Arafhin Mazumder, 2010, Mobile
Application And Its Global Impact‖, International Journal Of Engineering &
Technology, IJETIJENS, Vol: 10, No:06

S. Verstockt, D. Decoo, D. Van Nieuwenhuyse, F. De Pauw‡ And R. Van De Walle, 2009,
Assistive Smartphone For People With Special Needs: The Personal Social
Assistant‖, 2nd Conference On Human System Interactions,