African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4179

Full Length Research Paper

Are mobile phones the 21st century addiction?

Richard Shambare*, Robert Rugimbana and Takesure Zhowa
Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 September 2011
  •  Published: 18 January 2012


The mobile or cell phone has become the 21st century icon. It is ubiquitous in the modern world, as an on-the-go talking device, an internet portal, a social networking platform, a personal organizer, and even a mobile bank. In the information age, it has become an important social accessory. Since it is relatively easy to use, portable and affordable, its diffusion continues to surpass that of other ICTs. Research increasingly suggests cell phone usage to be addictive, compulsive and habitual. Students are among the heavy users of mobile technologies, and accordingly, a 33-item questionnaire measuring addictive and habitual behaviour was administered to a sample of students. Results indicate that indeed mobile phone usage is not only habit-forming, it is also addictive; possibly the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century.


Key words: Addiction, dependency behaviour, cell phones, mobile phones, youths.