Survey: Cell phones have social impact

National, Normal

The National – Monday, July 4th 2011


MOST people in PNG use mobile phones for social rather than economic reasons, new research shows.

The study was conducted in 2009 by Amanda Watson from the University of Technology in Queensland for her PhD in communication.

The study was titled: “The mobile phone: The New Communication Drum in Papua New Guinea”.

The study was carried out in Orora, on Karkar Island and Megiar village, on the North Coast of Madang, and included eight other villages.

The findings showed that 51.4% of the people at Orara village and 52.9% in Megiar village said the mobile phone “is a good thing”.

The study explored the ways in which this new technology changed people’s lives, social structures and relationships.

The study showed social problems associated with the use of mobile phones such as having phone affairs outside of marriage, costs involved in owning a phone and lack of electricity supply to recharge batteries.

The study mainly focused on rural communities, which previously had little or no access to modern communication technologies.

However, things have now changed and those present from the mobile companies said mobile phone had benefited people a lot economically such as the mobile banking system, including conducting and facilitating businesses at all levels.

Watson, a former lecturer at Divine Word University in Madang, highlighted three practical problems that had emerged from the research: Cost, battery recharging difficulties and breakage.

“Nonetheless, the present research adds weight to mobile phone studies which suggest that the primary advantage of mobile phones in such settings are for the satisfaction of communication itself, and for social interaction among loved ones,” Watson said.