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One of the major benefits of cell phones for teenagers is the convenience of being in a position to communicate with other people at all times from any location. This is because teens are always busy and in constant move during the day, mostly between classes, and may want to confirm a few issues concerning their classes, or to plan how to meet with their peers after school. This is very applicable and beneficial to a student who misses class and with the help of a cell phone can be easily contacted either through a call of a text message to ensure that no one lags behind. A busy school schedule can make it challenging for students to find time to communicate with others face to face, thus making cell phones a close companion that allows them to connect with each other easily (Petten page). Cell phones are also useful to the parents, since these allow parents to reach their children more conveniently, either to confirm their progress or to arrange for their transportation to and from school. In addition to basic communication, the current smart phones have new features that allow teenagers to find maps, check email and even perform a quick research on the internet (Petten page). The online maps can be very important in case of abduction.
Many teens usually need to access a range of electronic devices such as music players, cell phones and hand held gaming devices. Currently, some of the new cell phones integrate a number of these features into a single device as in the case of Apple iPhone that can run games, play music and download videos from the web. It is, therefore, convenient for the users to have only one cell phone device that serves multiple purposes. At the same time, mobile phones come with in-built calculators and converters that are more useful to the students during mathematics lessons instead of carrying extra calculators. Similarly, cell phones can also be of great help to students who are slow in copying notes, who with the permission of the lecturer can be allowed to take a picture of the notes and access it later or record the lectures (Petten page).
Mobile banking and payments; Mobile cell phones are used to access mobile banking services in many countries, which may comprise the ability to transfer cash payments through the use of secure short message texting. For example, in Kenya, there is the use of M-PESA mobile banking service that allows clients of the mobile phone operators Safaricom and Airtel to maintain cash balances which are recorded on their SIM cards. Clients may deposit or withdraw cash from M-PESA or Airtel money accounts at Safaricom and Airtel money retail outlets respectively, located throughout the country, and the funds may be transferred electronically into bank accounts, from person to person and to pay bills to different companies. This technology has been of great help to students who can easily and conveniently get pocket money and school fees from their parents or guardians even much later after reporting to school. It, therefore, minimizes the number of times students can be sent back home for a school fee or any additional bills. Branchless banking has also been tried and is successful in South Africa and Philippines, where customers can access funds even far away from the branches.
Another successful application of mobile banking technology is Zidisha, which is based in the United States and involves nonprofit micro lending platform that gives a chance to residents of developing countries staying in the US to raise small business loans from web users worldwide. Zidisha uses mobile banking for loan disbursements and repayments by transferring cash from lenders in the US to the borrowers in rural Africa with the help of internet and mobile phones.
Cell phones are very important devices during emergencies for both teenagers and adults. For example, in case of a car accident which is a common emergency faced by teens, parents or teachers can be alerted immediately. If a car accident arises in an isolated area, or if a teen is hurt or trapped in a vehicle, it is usually challenging to get assistance without a cell phone. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 74 percent of Americans asserted that they have used a cell phone during an emergency (Lenhart page).
In case of an emergency, access to a cell phone allows the students to timely contact the police, fire department, or ask for ambulance services immediately. Similarly, parents can contact their children in case of any family emergency. With the increase of insecurity in the world, especially the rise of terrorist threats and school shootings, a cell phone becomes a major companion for the students and serves as a lifeline between parents and their children that helps the parent to discover the location of their children in case of any delay to get home. Many phones are now furnished with GPS, which allows parents and security agencies to track children’s phones in case of abductions or if the child exhibits suspicious behavior and movements.
Tracking and privacy; mobile phones are also used to gather data about a location, majorly when the phone is turned on. The geographical location of a cell phone can be identified easily whether the phone is on use or not, using a multilateration technique that helps to compute the variances in time taken for a signal to move from the mobile phone to all the cell boosters closer to the owner of the phone. Currently, there is a new technology that can track cell phone handsets even if the phone is switched off. This helps to track people involved in a criminal activity or those holding the child at ransom in case of abduction
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The movements of a mobile phone user through the SIM card and the handset can be tracked by their service provider and, if needed, by law enforcement agencies and government. This helps to improve safety of the holder and security in general. China has suggested using this technology to track travelling patterns of Beijing city residents. Equally, UK and US law enforcement and intelligence services agencies use mobiles phones for surveillance purposes, by using a technology that activates the microphones in cell phones in remote locations to be able to follow people’s discussions taking place closer to the individual possessing the phone. Cell phones also promote privacy between students and their parents though text messages.
Owning and taking good care of a cell phone, including using it with care, teaches the teens a sense of responsibility, knowing that losing it means staying without the precious commodity for long and that explanations must be made concerning the circumstances behind the loss before the parent considers replacing it . Parents, therefore, need to set guidelines on the use of cell phone. This will make the child learn how to effectively use the mobile phone within the confines imposed. In addition, having cell phones promotes responsible health living and wellness. This is done through the programs that deliver personalized text messages geared towards assisting a person with dieting problems to remember to take medications, or encouraging them to stop smoking and to advice on healthy diet.
Socializing; cell phones are majorly used by the teenagers for social interaction, creating and maintaining friends, staying in continuous contact with one another and feeling a part of a peer group. The absence of connection, therefore, makes it is difficult for teens to be in contact with classmates to make consultations about their class work and assignments in or outside school. This helps the teens to be up to date with information and instructions given by tutors. Socialization also helps the youths to grow and learn more about others.