Mobile phone usage amongIndian youthByPriyanka Matanhelia
Introduction There are approximately 400 million mobile phone subscriptions to which 11 to 12 million more are added every month.
Indian Mobile Landscape Mobile cellular service was introduced in 1994 20 urban rural 80 80% cellular subscribers in urban areas and 20% in rural areas.
Comparison with other communication media 45 38.76 Landlines Mobile phones Internet 296.08In 2008, in India there were 45 million internet subscribers, 38.75landlines and 296.08 mobile phone
Mobile phones and youth in India More than half of India’s one billion population is under 35 years of age and is at the forefront of mobile phone revolution.
Purpose The main purpose was to investigate the significance and influence of mobile phones in the life of young people in India. The second purpose was to understand how gender and the socio-cultural environment impacts the use of mobile phones by young people.
Theoretical Perspectives Uses & Gratification theory ◦ This approach assumes that media consumers are active rather than passive and use media to fulfill important goals and needs. Social – cognitive domain theory ◦ It rejects cultural templates such as individualistic or collectivistic and proposes that young people in all cultures develop individual identity and ideas about personal freedom and autonomy but they might not exercise personal rights in order to behave socially appropriately. Social construction of technology (SCOT) ◦ The SCOT framework implies that human actions shape the use of technology which in turn is shaped by socio- cultural environment. Hence indicating that socio-cultural environment indirectly impacts the use of technology.
Research Questions What are the different needs that young people are fulfilling through the use of cell phones? Are they using cell phones in ways that reflect their individual identity and personal autonomy? What are the differences in the use of mobile phones based on gender? How does the different socio-cultural environment as represented in the two cities impact the use of mobile phone?
Methodology Mumbai – Located in the Southern part of India; Metro; Cosmopolitan; Financial capital of India; Has a very good public transportation system of local trains and buses Kanpur – Situated in Northern region of India; Non-metro; Old decaying industrial town; The only means of public transportation is hand- driven rickshaws and three-wheelers
Methodology Mixed - methods ◦ Long Interviews – A total of 30 individuals of 18 – 24 year olds were interviewed in two cities of Kanpur and Mumbai. 7 women and 8 men (15) were interviewed in each city. ◦ Survey A total of 300 individuals (75 men and women in each city) of ages 18 – 24 years were asked to fill out a survey.
Findings 1 - Communication Communication – related needs ◦ “one – to – one” To contact their family during emergencies To inform parents regarding their whereabouts To coordinate plans To talk to friends and relatives To flirt and kill time when getting bored To express & share feelings Sending jokes, poetry Intimate conversations ◦ “one – to – many” Use it for conference calls to coordinate events and collaborate ideas
Findings 1 - Communication Mode of communication ◦ Voice, text, images ◦ Text is the most popularly used with friends ◦ Voice is used when talking to parents ◦ The reasons are both cost & convenience They are not only used for communication when outside home, walking on street but used at home in the privacy of their rooms especially in Kanpur.
Findings 2 – Information & News News which is ◦ personal interest such as sports/ cricket updates & films ◦ Career – related such as fashion and stock updates ◦ current events and happenings - bomb blasts & floods ◦ they can share with friends Work or study related information ◦ for e.g. viewing online exam results.
Findings 3 - Entertainment Download songs, music, pictures, videos & movies. For many cell phones functions as an iPod. Clicking pictures & videos of friends and then sharing it via Bluetooth. Games Radio
Findings 4 - Identity/ Individuality Cell phones are a marker of transition to adulthood ◦ Most young people receive cell phones when they transitioned from school to college ◦ Also popular as gifts during festivals such as Diwali & Rakshabandhan Cell phone is a part of me – It is an extension of self ◦ Young people think it is impossible to live without a cell phone Personalization ◦ Most of them personalize it by using a particular ringtone & wallpaper that they like Display/ presentation of self – to project a certain image ◦ Modern ◦ Fashion ◦ Status symbol
Findings 5 – Negotiating independence fromparents Locking with a secret code ◦ “My parents don’t like the messages that I keep, they go on deleting it. I have seen my father reading all the messages in my inbox. So I have this security code, even if they want they can’t delete it.” (p. 34) Talking to girlfriends/ boyfriends – ◦ “Some parents have problems with meeting, so it’s easy to talk to females on cell phone because you are not meeting, you can’t see but at least you can talk.” – Kabir from Mumbai (p. 49) Talking to friends from home – ◦ “Text…because sometimes you get excited so you shout and your parents might hear you, sometimes that’s pretty bad.” (p. 59)
Findings 6 – Friendships Maintaining friendships Making new friends on cell phone ◦ Through friends - “I had one friend, we were just phone friends. We were good friends on phone for a year. (p. 52) – Ekta from Mumbai ◦ Through internet social networking sites – “I have only one friend on Orkut. On Orkut, I just gave him my number, so he is just a friend.” (p. 53) – Kavita from Mumbai ◦ Through random dialing – “After 11 pm reliance to reliance is free, so we would just give missed calls all over India. I had made a friend …she was from Bareilly. I got to know her only through cell phone.”
Findings 7 – Intimate relationships Cell phones allow the privacy to have intimate conversations ◦ “girls, girls…obviously being a guy I will go for girls… girls like talking, there are personal things, which they need to discuss. Cell phone is the best medium… anything about sex, lots of topics, anything you want, face-to-face you can’t because there are people around who are conservative and you cannot talk like that.” (p. 50) It is easier to express feelings & emotions through cell phones ◦ I can only express my feelings through cell phone…like if I want to say sorry…I can stand in front of her and tell I am sorry, sorry…but through cell phone, I can SMS her once or twice. My friends in hostel, their bill comes to 2800 or 3000 because they do talk to girls at night. You can’t be with a girl at 11 or 12 at
Findings 8 – Socially (in)appropriate• Eve- teasing Clicking pictures & videos and sharing it “once on the beach this guy too my picture. I have received some calls…It’s all kind of weird calls – I like you & stuff..We can’t even stop, we can just ignore it. It’s easy for a person to blackmail & threaten.” Giving blank calls again and again Following women through cell phones Sending jokes with sexual content• Watching pornographic material in public
Conclusions Mobile phones are ◦ not just communication devices but also used for news and information. ◦ function as personal media devices for entertainment. ◦ a part of their identity and are used as a means to express their individuality. ◦ used to negotiate independence from parents in certain areas of life. ◦ used as a means to establish new friendships and maintain old ones. ◦ used to support intimate relations. ◦ used for eve-teasing and viewing pornographic material in public places which the participants think was socially inappropriate and unethical.
End You can access my dissertation online at http://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/1 0255