This exploratory study examines Arab college students' use of mobile phones, and investigates the impact of mobile telephony on Arab family structure, friendship, and face-to-face communication. The study uses and gratifications theory as a theoretical framework, and utilizes a survey instrument and a nonrandom sample (N=303) to get answers to its research questions. The study found that the majority of the respondents used mobile phones to communicate with parents, relatives, and friends. The respondents used their mobile phones for coordinating activities and texting. The respondents reported that the mobile phones help them in emergency situations, but they did not emphatically stress security as an overriding concern. The respondents stated that a mobile phone substantially reduces their visits to their relatives or friends. They did not consider talking on a mobile phone in a public place a disturbance. Moreover, the respondents did not think that a mobile phone distracts its user from studying or driving. The study found that the majority of the respondents spent more than two hours per day using various features of mobile phones including camera, video, texting, and the Internet. By critically appraising the uses of mobile telephony in an Arab context, the study concludes that Arab college students, appropriated mobile phones in various ways to suit their daily lives and serve their cultural needs.
Mustafa Hashim Taha, American University of Sharjah, UAE
Stream: Journalism and Communications
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