Social Implications Of Mobile Computing: Mobile Phones Essay


Describe about the Social Implications Of Mobile Computing for Mobile Phones.



The technology of mobile phones is changing the way we lead our lives. The usage of mobile phones has been far ahead than just making calls or messaging people. It has now a whole new range of web applications, smart phone technology in the form of IOS and Android and broad band to offer the society so much that its impacts cannot be ignored. Experiencing digitalisation has now become very easy, just a click away. People have become so much addicted to various apps which offer variety of features such as photos, music, shopping, GPS and banking to name a few that they have started to view their mobile phones as handy computers.

The social implications of mobile computing has been far-fetched in the form of work from home facilities which enables people to work as per comfort thus enabling to maintain a work life balance. The data connectivity over mobile phones no more limits the users just to access mails and thus the user base has also expanded of all internet service providers due to its relevance in the work life as well as social and personal life. Thus it is very aptly said by all eminent researchers that mobile computing has had a remarkable impact on the social life of people which are both negative as well as positive.

Journal Paper 1

Research Questions Identified

The paper put forward by Tom Bolitho, Benjamin Sanders and Daniel Zahra in the University of Plymouth, UK clearly shows how has the emerging mobile technology impacted the social life of the users as well as the non-users. This article clearly answers the most critical question which all have on their mind, the pros and cons of such technology. They have raised concerns about the privacy and the security issues along with the benefits that the mobile computing has on offer. The mobility of the users have increased tremendously to such an extent that there exists no barriers with regards time and location. The paper clearly identifies how mobile computing has enabled to improve social relationships as well as successful implementation of the concept of job on the wheels. The research identifies how mobile computing has enabled to increase the accountability and responsibility towards the society as a whole, multi-tasking facilities wherein the overall results are overwhelming in nature but with some negativity attached to it (Bolitho 2010). Therefore the main focus of this paper is on the implications that this mobile computing technology has on the society. The same is adequately covered by conducting a survey which is described further.


The researchers conducted an online survey wherein 106 responses were received. Its main purpose was to focus upon how the society reacts towards the technological advancement in the field of mobile phones. Survey respondent demographics are as per the figure attached below:































On analysing the same it is understood that around 63% of the public feel that their has been an improvement in their social life due to mobile computing. It has also been indicated that only 23% of the respondents agree to an increase in the number of friends due to the said technological advancement thus it is clear that a major chunk still believes that the mobile computing technology has not added to their friendship base significantly. But 55% of the crowd are in agreement to the fact that their social life has strengthened due to increase in the network and to impress upon the said stance, 38% respondents have said that had such a technological advancement not taken place then they would have been secluded from the social network activity going around the world (Bolitho 2010).


On conducting a detailed analysis it is also concluded that people belief that such a technology has lead to maintenance of more intimate relationships than simply a general one. The most significant implication that the mobile computing has had is over the fact that the parents are now being able to easily contact with their children working or studying in various parts of the world. Text messaging, one of the features offered by the mobile phones has been viewed as a tool of faster and cheap communication but a major part of the population sample i.e. 80% felt that it ended up into various misunderstandings and thus disrupting relations (Cairncross, 1997).

The ISPs are now providing high speed internet services in the form of 3G and 4G but unfortunately those using 3G are less wiling to upgrade themselves to 4G if the charges are increased. Thus one of the implications tat such mobile computing technology has had on the society is the cost. People had migrated from 2G to 3G by paying extra thus putting an impact on their monthly expenditure but now they have become too wary and hence are less willing to switch over to 4G by paying extra (Arminen, 2007).

The social implications are further wandered into the field of productivity, work life balance maintenance, ‘always on’ culture, privacy and security and most importantly health issues. Although mobile computing keeps a person always busy even when someone is waiting for a train or a bus to arrive yet only 31% of the crowd agree that the productivity in work has actually increased as most of the people are busy doing watsapp and browsing over facebook and twitter during free time which does not add to any work productivity. People are more busy reading messages and mails than actually working.

Although it seems that the mobile computing has enabled maintenance of work life balance but if looked into the same deeply it is understood that the same has become a possible intruder in the lives of professionals which has given an open liberty to all to contact at any time of the hour. It has had manifold negative implications as well, one of which is the erosion of the thin line of difference between work and home life. 23% of the respondents have said that such an erosion of the line has lead to an increase in their work hours but only 50% of them gain more out f the same. Unfortunately the social impact of mobile computing has been mixed in this area wherein 50% are not bothered about the results and only 27% of the crowd seem to benefit out of the same.

Cultures have also taken a turn due to the concept of mobile computing. The results clearly show that the mobile etiquette is what people have self learnt. Due to the same a majority of the population from the sample believe that they should be actively involved in responding to emails and messages else it will sound rude.

Lastly two most crucial implications that the said mobile computing technology has had on the society are in the field of security and privacy and health issues as well. People feel that the health hazards associated with the usage of mobile phones should be advertised more aggressively and a detailed research with regards the risks attached with the said device should be done. With regards privacy and security, one third of the population sample are of the opinion that their personal and private space has been intruded but unfortunately only 26% of the respondents have clarified that they read the terms and conditions that comes with the mobile contract. The rest do not and hence it is their faults. Hardly half of the respondents have a lock code set on their mobile phones or read the terms mentioned by these social networking sites (Cook, & Das, 2005). They claim that the page contains too many clauses and their friend list comprises of only known people. People have raised concerns regarding the fact that people whom they do not know also have the right to access their profile.

Thus the mobile computing has impacted the social life of the people across various areas which is a matter of concern as well as has some positive implications as well.

Refelection On The Paper

Thus the said paper clearly states that the mobile computing has had a significant dual impact both negative and positive on the lives of all. Those trying to avoid feel excluded whereas those using the same feel intrusion of their privacy. But however the fact that the social life has improved tremendously cannot be ignored and the emergence of developing new relations confidently has also been imbibed into many It has become a social status symbol to be a part of the mobile computing technology. People had developed the feeling that mobile is the most effective and efficient method of communication which is one of the solution to many social problems (Wise, 1997). But the same should ultimately be done with full vigilance and due diligence so as to ensure that the privacy and security is not hampered and the social life balance is also maintained ethically.

Journal Paper 2

Research Questions Identified

The said journal article on social implications of mobile computing put forward by Scott W. Campbell and Yong Jin Park discusses about the personal nature of the mobile computing technology and its impact on the social life of people. They have defined this as simply an extended and more advanced arm of the traditional modes of communication. The research clearly answers queries with regards how the technology offered by mobile phones are different from the age old computers (Campbell & Park, 2008). The mobility offered by these personal communication tools have had a stark impact over the society which is well defined in this paper. It also focuses upon the changes that the mobile computing has had over the personal life of people.


The researchers have concentrated over understanding the meaning of mobile phone and other such mode of communication which is worn by the public as a methodology to conduct their research. It concentrates upon the distinction between portability and wearability which is the main distinguishing factor between a laptop and a mobile phone. Mobile phones are construed as a device which is used as a result of direct touch with our body organs and senses and hence its impact is greater. The discussion paper also pin points upon a very important factor i.e. style which has also added to the factor of social status thus impacting our lives greatly (Lobet-Maris. 2003). Thus the methodology revolves around the already established views and theories laid down by eminent scholars by drawing inferences and conclusions given prevailing social circumstances.


The research analysis is clearly defined into various sections. First and foremost it defines how there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the mobile computing technology and the society as a whole and how this device is perceived as a style statement. Two main categories have been defined for the said form of communication. They are micro-coordination and hyper-coordination. The former talk about how instrumental is the said device whereas the later concentrates upon how the said device is used as a means of expressing emotions and feelings. In micro-coordination softening of the work and personal schedules is observed due to the fact that the hindrances of time and location are overcome in the mobile computing form of communication. This is defined as ‘space of flows’ and ‘timeless time’ very aptly. This has also ensured the characteristic of flexible communication as well. Second to this is the hyper-coordination which focuses mainly upon ‘expressive’ use of the device (Ling, 2004). Thus it has been rightly said that the mobile computing technology has enabled society to interact individually as well as personally instantly with the help of internet on the wheels.

Second section defines how the concept of mobile computing has intruded the public space in lieu of using it for personal purpose. The social networking sites have become so easy to use due to its accessibility through the mobile phones that people tend to forget the basic ethics and standards that should be maintained in public forums and post or say such things which is personal. There seems to be an issue with regards the basic line which should not be crossed but unfortunately the same is being done which is having a very stark negative impact on the society. Communicators tends to forget that people around incidentally become audiences and do get affected by unsocial remarks thus creating an unrest within the society (Castells 2007).

Thirdly this culture of mobile computing has had a very noticeable impact over the young crowd of the society. It is the younger generation who tend to resort to unacceptable behaviour in lieu of procuring the best and the most stylish mobile phone with the best applications and internet service. They use this device more as an accessory than a necessity (Fortunati, 2005). They think mobile computing enables them to update the world at the earliest about the developments being taken place in their surroundings before anyone else and tend to sense a feeling of pride in doing so. Unfortunately this form has also enabled them to maintain high degree of privacy from their parents which is a matter of concern. Unfortunately the youth has started seeing this as the way to lead a good and successful life wherein they can have their own individual identity and even end up neglecting the intricate issues of life (Sugiyama, 2006).

Reflection On The Paper

Thus the said article has rightly been able to define the issues and how the same has impacted the social life of the people around specially the young generation. The mobile computing has not had an impact suddenly but is a gradual change which has been taking pace from decades now and finally its implications are being felt by all. It has become a part of the culture now. This paper has although analysed the basic issues and implication that the mobile computing has had over the society yet it has given a very narrow outlook. The list mentioned above is not exhaustive as it fails to comment upon various other implications such as that of ‘peer to peer journalism’ and other more open societal venues such as ‘You Tube’ (Katz, 2006)


On summarising the facts and figures stated in both these journals it is very clear that the mobile computing world has had a very significant impact on the society. In the first journal the writers have very well taken a sample of population and conducted research which aptly states the implications of the mobile computing in the field of maintaining work life balance, culture, youth, privacy and health issues whereas the second journal provides an overall view which is stated by the other profound scholars. Thus it does not conduct any real time analysis and talks about the discussions laid down by them in the past. The first paper shows a more realistic view of the possible implications as compared to the latter.

Thus on a concluding note we can say that social implications has been manifolds and it requires self regulation as well as awareness programs to educate people that mobile phones is not the only world. Sooner or later it may happen that the world is restricted to mobile phones and technology only which may lead to loosing over the real world pictures.


Arminen, I. (2007). Review essay: Mobile communication society? Acta Sociological, vol.50, no.4 , pp. 431-437.

Bolitho, T., Sanders, B., & Zahra, D., (2010), The Positive and Negative Implications of Emerging Mobile Technologies, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK

Campbell, S.W., & Park, Y.J., (2008), Social implications of Mobile Technology : The Rise of Personal Communication Society, Sociology Compass, vol.2, no.2 , pp. 371-387

Cairncross, F. (1997). The death of distance: How the communications revolution will change our lives. Boston: Harvard Business press

Castells, M, Mireia F.A., Jack L.Q., & Araba S,(2007), Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Cook, D. J., & Das, S. K. (2005). Smart environments: technologies, protocols, and applications, . New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

Fortunati, L (2005), Mobile Phones and Fashion in Post-Modernity, Telektronikk , vol.3, no.4, pp. 35–48

Katz, J.E.,(2006), Magic in the Air: Mobile Communication and the Transformation of Social Life. Transaction Publishers: New Brunswick, NJ

Lobet-Maris. C, (2003), Mobile Phone Tribes: Youth and Social Identity, Mediating the Human Body: Technology, Communications and Fashion , p.p. 87–92

Ling, R, (2004), The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone’s Impact on Society. Morgan Kaufmann: San Francisco

Sugiyama, S, (2006), Fashioning the Self: Symbolic Meanings of the Mobile Phone for Youth in Japan, Doctoral Dissertation, Graduate Program in Communication, Information, and Library Sciences, Rutgers University.

Wise, J.M. (1997). Exploring technology and social space. American Journal of Sociology, vol. 44, p.p 1-24

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