Social effects of mobile technology on Generation Y Students
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The past decade has witnessed a dramatic invasion of mobile technology into the lives of people. Among those who appear to be most affected by this invasion are university students who are the most ‘connected’ generation. Research has found that in excess of 60% of students have access to either a desktop computer or a laptop and about 90% of them own a cellular phone. With university students being increasingly immersed in the latest social media such as Facebook, Sim City, MySpace and World of Wars there may possibly be serious social effects as a consequence. The purpose of this research is therefore to determine the social effects of mobile technology on Generation Y students. A quantitative research approach involving the administration of a structured questionnaire to Generation Y university students was used to collect data for the study. Data was collected by a trained research assistant who personally administered the questionnaire at the different university campuses. The data were analysed in the following ways: a descriptive analysis of the sample composition was undertaken and exploratory factor analysis was undertaken to establish the social effects of mobile technology. Seven factors, namely self-esteem and confidence, recreation, family interaction, social interaction, attentiveness, personal well-being and peer relationships were extracted. These factors are likely influence their lives as well as their behaviour. The overwhelming majority of respondents that own mobile mtechnology suggest how indispensible it has become as a mechanism to communicate, surf the net and engage in entertainment activities. Given the critical role that mobile technology plays in the lives of Generation Y students’ lives, it is important for them to create an appropriate balance between their usage, attention to their academic programmes and their social lives.