Blackberry Use and Sociability Amongst Female Emirati University Students

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Ebtisam Mahmoud Thoban

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Background: the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoys widespread telecommunications network coverage, it is presently ranked 30 th in the world on the Networked Readiness Index, a measure of telecommunications coverage (TRA 2012). Additionally, UAE citizens enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, enabling them to have access to the latest telecommunications devices. These devices are particularly popular with university students. There are several reports, and growing concerns about possible negative effects from the heavy use of such technologies. One such concern is the detrimental effect on face-to-face sociability. Aims: This study explores the relationship between the use of BlackBerry (highly popular mobile internet device) and sociability amongst female university students. Design: This study uses a cross-sectional correlational study design. Methodology : Participants were 102 female university students at Zayed University in the UAE. All participants completed the sociability questionnaire (SQ) which was developed by Hanewicz and Bellamy1998 and also completed the BlackBerry use questionnaire (BUQ), which was adapted from Abu Dhabi Social Support Centre Internet addiction questionnaire. Participants completed the questionnaires in classrooms, all participants worked alone. Results: Both the BUQ and the SQ demonstrated acceptable internal reliability, alpha coefficients .78 and .71 respectively. Sociability scores amongst female Emiratis were generally higher than those reported by Hanewicz and Bellamy1998. There was no relationship between BlackBerry use and face-to-face Sociability. Conclusions: The use of BlackBerry doesn't appear to be associated with lower levels of sociability in the present Emirati female student population. Future research should also consider duration use; furthermore longitudinal studies are required to better understand any possible causal relationships



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