Smartphone Effects on Youth: Case of United Arab Emirates

Smartphone Effects on Youth: Case of United Arab Emirates

Badreya Al-jenaibi (United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE) and Alyzia A. Almansouri (United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJeC.2020040106


In this article, the researchers investigate the different effects of smartphones on the youth of the United Arab Emirates through an integrated questionnaire among 12 doctors that were randomly sampled and selected about the smartphone use of the youth in the country. Through a qualitative research design by using structured questionnaires, the researcher found out that smartphone usage affects the youth in UAE both in a positive and negative way. Moreover, smartphone usage may lead to negative health issues among the youth including obesity. Also, it was concluded that parents should play a role in limiting the number of hours that youth should use their smartphones to a maximum of 3 hours a day.
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The rise of digital media can be attributed as well to the increasing number of individuals owning a smartphone, or vice versa, it could be the increasing number of smartphone users that resulted in the rise of digital media. Reportedly, there are 78 percent of people in the United Arab Emirates who own at least one smartphone, which means that others even have more. Even though UAE has not adapted smartphone usage and digitization as early as compared to other western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, the “penetration among UAE nationals is 85 percent compared to other nationalities with 75 percent (Trost, 2014).” This is because Emiratis are considered to be early adopters and trend-setters in the Arab region.

The increasing number of Emiratis using smartphones has raised different concerns, especially the effects of too much use of smartphones among the youth in the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, in this paper, the researcher investigates the different effects of smartphones on the youth of the United Arab Emirates.

The target audience of this research paper is the youth. Significantly for this paper, the youth refers to individuals who are 15 to 24 years of age. Moreover, smartphones include handheld mobile gadgets or handphones but excluding technologies like tablets or the bigger version of handphones. Cellular smartphones are the ones included in this study. Significantly, the target populations of this research are Emiratis, which stand for the citizen of the United Arab Emirates country and own nationality. The MENA region would be mentioned in this paper a lot of times because UAE is part of the MENA region but the focus of the research is only among Abu Dhabi as the capital of the country only.

In order to support the current study, the researcher will be reviewing related literature as a basis for discussion and in order to compare and contrast the different literatures that have been written before about the effects of smartphones among the youth of the United Arab Emirates. Basically, the literature review will be about the digital trends in the MENA region, the mobile penetration in the UAE region, and collated information about the possible effects of smartphones among the youth, especially on the students of the region.

The main research design of this study is qualitative research design. The researcher used this design in order to have a more focused study on the subject matter. Qualitative researching can “explore a wide array of dimensions of the social world, including the texture and weave of everyday life, the understandings, experiences and imaginings of our research participants, the ways that social processes, institutions, discourses or relationships work, and the significance of the meanings that they generate” (Mason, 2002). Basically, this means that qualitative research is applicable if there is a need to have a more in-depth understanding of a significant issue as well as in generating results from participants at a more personal level.

The researcher used a structured questionnaire for the 12 doctors working in Abu Dhabi City both in the private and public hospitals. These doctors are professionals in their fields and could really give answers to the questions in the questionnaire regarding the topic of the research. The researcher sent the questionnaire questions through email and the questionnaire or their answer to the questionnaire questions were also sent via email since these doctors are practically busy with their jobs in their different positions in the hospital they work in.

As mentioned earlier, the researcher chose to use questionnaires as the process of gathering the needed data for this research. Since qualitative research design is being used for a wider and in-depth understanding of the effects of smartphones on the youth of UAE, a questionnaire is the best method to do this. Bird (2009) notes that questionnaires are fundamental tools in acquiring information concerning public knowledge as well as perceptions about natural hazards. This is in addition to the beliefs and the reasons of actions concerning the topic that is being investigated. This means that questionnaires also result in in-depth information that the researcher needs for this study.

Significantly, the researcher aims to answer the following research questions:

  • How do Smartphones affect youths in Abu Dhabi?

  • How do smartphones change the health, behavior and physical activity of the youths?

  • What negative and positive impacts do smartphones have on youth lifestyle?

  • What are the tips for youth who use smartphones and their parents?

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