Published on December 25, 2007
Is Mobile Phone a Socio-Cultural Change Agent?: Is Mobile Phone a Socio-Cultural Change Agent? Study of the Pattern of Usage Among University Students in Bangladesh Salahuddin Aminuzzaman Professor & Chair Department of Development Studies University of Dhaka Bangladesh Introduction: Introduction The mobile phone is a new innovation in a ‘technology-shy society’ like Bangladesh. Mobile telephones have expanded faster than any other technological innovations in the country. Over the last four years the percentage of ownership of mobile phone has increased three fold. Mobile phone has been used as women empowerment tool by Grameen Bank Research Questions: Research Questions Three broad research questions of the study: a. What are the usage patterns of mobile phones among the university students of Bangladesh? b. How does it affect social relationships among the young generation? c. Is there any cultural impact of the use of mobile phone on the young generation? Sample: Sample Data has been collected from Dhaka University - Survey of 300 respondent-students (about 5 percent of the population) With a combination of half male –half female and almost equal numbers of students representing the city and mofassal (small town and rural background). Findings: Findings 34% using for 3 years or more 66 % using for last two years Females are early starter against male students Urban students are early starter than rural students Findings: Findings What made students interested to use mobile? Mobile symbolizes modernity Connectivity with friend circle To be in touch with family members Aggressive marketing campaign and incentive packages Peer pressure Findings: Findings Pattern of use ● Mobile phone is still costly to average Bangladeshi ● 89 percent of respondents make and receive one to six calls a day ● Female students reported to have made fewer outgoing call than they received ● Most calls are from and to friends ● Female students tend to use mobile more often to keep in touch with immediate family members ● Exchange practical information (93%) ● 82 percent thus observed that they became virtually ‘dependent’ on it Findings: Findings Use of Short Message services (SMS) 94 percent of the respondents use SMS. SMS are being sent to class mates/ friends/ boy friends/ girl friends/ would be husband/wife. Students consider SMS as a cost effective, safe and expressive mode of communication. I feel easy in SMS. I can write whatever I feel. I can hide my lajja (shyness) and express myself straightforward. (female respondent) I am more expressive in my SMS. (female respondent) Findings: Findings Use of symbolic calls 85 percent of the respondents regularly make use of missed calls to pass a symbolic message to the recipient Students use different ringer tones to symbolize and signify different types of symbolic messages through missed call Why Mobile is considered symbol of modernism?: Why Mobile is considered symbol of modernism? Overall impact of the use of Mobile: Overall impact of the use of Mobile Does mobile affect culture?: Does mobile affect culture? Culture Conclusions: Conclusions Made young generation relatively free from earlier family control and constraints of social interactions. Mobile users have developed their own symbols, slang, codes and unique and uncommon voculabary to communicate. Ownership of a mobile phone is considered to be an index of modernity. A ‘symbol of fashion and luxury’ among the students of Dhaka University. The Bangladeshi youth, by virtue of using the mobile, claims to have become ‘fast and modern’ in their attitude and see themselves as ‘at par with the West’. Further study is needed for fuller understanding as to how this new ‘technology driven culture’ will affect the broader social values and norms in conservative culture Thank You : Thank You
Salahuddin Aminuzzaman studies Anthropology, Religion, and Social and Cultural Anthropology.
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