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Preliminary Idea _Marcus_.docx - Wikispaces


									My Preliminary Idea

Topic: Are smartphone games distracting students, therefore causing their grades to drop?

Preliminary Idea

Short write-up

Smartphone games such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja might be causing students nowadays to be
glued onto their smartphones. Even parents are using smartphones to distract their children to keep
them quiet (The Straits Times). The number of apps downloaded on the iPhone alone (not to
mention other smartphones) has already hit 2 billion ( This shows how smartphones can
really distract and keep the attention of children. Thus, this could also be the case for teenagers,
most of who own their own smartphones and are more likely to be playing games. This could lead to
them being more likely to be distracted by the smartphone games. In fact, Singapore is ranked third
in the “smartphone craze” (The Jakarta Globe), as we have bought so many smartphones. In our
class alone, at least ¼ of the students own smartphones. This shows that many students have a
smartphone and therefore can be distracted by the smartphone games. The information I have
provided shows the factors that could lead to students being distracted by smartphone games: many
students have access to smartphones, and most, if not all, smartphones have games that students
can get addicted to. This emphasizes the huge amount of attention that must be paid to the rising
possibility of students being addicted to smartphone games.

Framing of research topic

Possible reasons leading to the problem

The biggest concern for parents and students alike when it comes to smartphones is whether the
multitude of games available on a smartphone will distract the students from their studies and cause
a drop in their grades. A possible reason that this problem could occur is the ease with which games
can be downloaded and played on smartphones, and the self-control of the pupils are not strong
enough to deter themselves from the games.

The games on the smartphone distract students from their studies more so than computer games
and television programs as the smartphone is portable, whereas the computers and television are
significantly less so, therefore students can play their smartphones wherever and whenever they
want, increasing the amount and duration of distraction that smartphones cause students, causing a
more significant drop in their grades.

Possible solutions to solve the problem

Smartphones can have software that prevents games from being played, or make it so that a
password is required for games to be played. Alternatively, smartphones can also be installed with
software that allows parents to set a password that is required for all but the functions and
applications that are authorized by the parent. This removes the student’s will to stop himself or
herself from playing the games on the smartphone from the equation, allowing the student to stave
off games and study more, reducing or removing the distraction of the smartphone. It can also be
made that the smartphone has to be connected with a laptop to download games, making it harder
to download games, and reducing the incentive to play smartphones as less games will be available.

This can also be extended to adults who are addicted to games on their smartphones. Software that
only allows games to be played for a certain period of time a day can be installed on smartphones,
reducing the distraction of smartphones by a significant amount, allowing adults to work without
distractions from games on their smartphones and not play Angry Birds or Tap Tap Revenge all day
until they get fired.

Reasons for choosing topic

I chose this topic as it is a major concern for students and parents alike, me included. Therefore the
topic is very relevant to me and my classmates, and other students everywhere. This makes it rather
important, as students will eventually turn into our leaders in the future. Therefore solving this
problem would greatly benefit society as a whole.

The benefits of choosing this topic include the ease with which research can be conducted, as there
are a large number of students with smartphones who can be surveyed or interviewed, allowing me
and my group to collect data easily and form a conclusion and plan better solutions based on the
data collated. The findings of our research can also greatly impact students who are distracted by
games on smartphones, allowing them to reduce their addiction and improve their studies.

Feasibility of the topic

There is a need for this project as this involves students, the country’s future leaders. If this research
is not carried out, and no solutions are implemented, students’ grades could keep dropping.
Although it is not yet known for sure if smartphone games have an impact on students’ grades, it is
very risky to take the risk and assume there is no impact. If it turns out there is, and students neglect
their studies, then this country will not have capable leaders that can lead us to a brighter future. It
will be possible for us to easily carry out the data collection for this topic. Therefore completing of
this project will be a lot easier in terms of people we can survey.

The course of action I have proposed is logical and realistic as it is relatively simple and creating such
software is not a Herculean task, especially for professional programmers. It is also effective, as such
courses of action can reduce any negative impact smartphones might have on the studies of
students and the work efficiency of working adults.

This project allows for the generation of ideas as we can find out different ways of collecting
different data, such as interview form or survey form, and we can find out the grades before and
after they started playing smartphones. We can also find out if there are any other factors other
than smartphone games which had an effect on the people, so that we can make sure the
smartphones were indeed the main, if not only, cause of the impact. This can also allow us to
analyse it differently such as what these findings could translate to in the future such as what will
happen if the smartphones do actually negatively impact the people.

Manageability of the topic
The project will be handled as follows. First, we shall research on the functions of the smartphones
and think of possible ways they might affect students and adults alike. This should take about 2-4
weeks. We can then move on to designing questions to obtain the data to support (or disprove) our
claim. The designing of the questions should take 3-4 weeks. Then the collection of data (through
surveys or otherwise) should then take another 1-2 weeks. The project will allow sufficient
opportunity for group work as there will be a lot of brainstorming involved in the process of the

I expect a little difficulty in finding people with smartphones outside our own class, and the people
with smartphones might not be willing to take our survey/interview. However, this is easily
overcome as we can go by trial and error and just ask people if they own smartphones, and if they
do, then we can ask them our questions. And if the people are unwilling to answer our questions, we
can move on to others to ask as there are many students with smartphones nowadays. However, the
project overall is very manageable.

Accessibility of the information required

Knowledge on the games available and their popularity with the general student population
will be extremely important in this research. An estimated number of students that own a
smartphone is another piece of key information. The amount people rely on and use their
smartphones is rather important information as well. How often the students with
smartphones play games on their smartphones is also very important in this research topic.

We can obtain the knowledge on games available and their popularity levels based on game
reviews, research on smartphone games on smartphone websites. The estimated number of
students who own smart phones can be estimated by taking the number of students with
smartphones out of all the people we approached for our research. The amount of reliance
students place on their smartphones and how much they play games on smartphones can
be found out through the data collection. We will therefore obtain the information needed
from a mixture of primary and secondary sources.

The problems anticipated are that the game reviews might be ambiguous and hard to
understand, and that the sources we find might not contain the knowledge we need. The
students we approach might also be unwilling to share such personal data with us strangers.
However, we can find new sources and it is the student’s right to refuse sharing their
personal information with us, and we should respect that right, and just get the information
from other students who are more willing to share such information with us.

Based on all these factors, I believe that finding out if smartphones distract students and
cause them to neglect their studies and cause their grades to drop is a topic worth
considering for the group proposal.

1) The rise of the iPhone nanny? (26 June 2011) Retrieved from
2) Singapore ranks third in the smartphone craze. Retrieved from
3) With two billionth iPhone app download, Apple gets blasé. Retrieved from

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