Tuesday, January 8, 2013

That bad side of cell phones

Source: The National, Tuesday 08th January, 2013

A TEACHER in the Southern Highlands is reported in the paper today claiming that mobile phones, that gadget which has linked up Papua New Guineans like never before, is partly to blame for poor academic performances of students.
The teacher, Samson Yoanis, has gone in to bat for his colleague teachers against criticisms that they alone are to be blamed for poor marks of students.
Yoanis has gone so far as to suggest that mobile phones are responsible for teenage pregnancies and early marriage for female students.
“Many of the female students are spending their free time talking to phone friends and, as a result, most leave school due to pregnancy while others get married,” he said.
He said most of today’s students had phones and even elementary students knew how to send messages and make and receive calls.
“This is a serious issue and pastors, community leaders, parents and guardians must teach their students not to spend time on phone during school days,” he said.
This is one more point to ponder as we plot a new school year along with phasing out outcomes-based education, aging infrastructure and a host of other issues affecting the education sector.
What really is the extent of influence they have on young impressionable minds when these gadgets bring the world closer to them at the press of a button?
Without any comprehensive study into the phenomenon we are unable to answer the question authoritatively but without the shadow of a doubt mobile phones have changed the way anyone, young or old, conducts his or her daily lives, not just in PNG but the world over.
These pocket-sized computers have far greater influence than we credit them with.
They are undeniably convenient. There is no need to go in search of a phone booth, which in PNG is non-existent. There is no need for the embarrassing queues outside the homes of those with land lines.
Mobile phones allow a student (or anybody else) to inform a parent or reach a friend quickly in times of need so it is a security tool.
Young people can now have fun taking and sharing pictures with the mobile phones and contact everyone on their contact list, provided they have enough credits to do so.
With research material, encyclopedia, free dictionary, and help with grammar in just about all major languages of the world, one would think that mobile phones should be more of an aid than a distraction for students.
And yet, undeniably the phone has become a thing of distraction in our schools and in our communities.
Yoanis is right of course The mobile phone is used for all the wrong purposes. Too much time and credits (which translates to money) are used in calling, texting or chatting on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Pornographic sites are at their fingertips and many young people’s minds are poisoned by these sleaze.
There was far greater control on the use of the landline in the house once upon a time. People would know who was on the phone. There was little privacy.
Today, the teenage daughter might be planning an escapade with an older man in her room next door without the parents having the faintest idea.
The husband could be talking to a girlfriend on the verandah while the missus is cooking dinner. And so on.
It is time there was a study conducted on the effects of the mobile phone upon society and especially upon the student populations.
Many schools have banned use of mobile phones in schools and that ought to be encouraged and applied right across the education sector.
The government, through the censorship board, has to start talking to mobile services providers to see how internet content can be controlled to stop use of mobile phones for less than helpful pursuits.

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