Communication is defined as the giving, receiving or exchange of information, opinions or ideas by writing, speech or visual means or a combination of the three so that the material communicated is completely understood by everyone concerned. (Sillars, S. 1998: 1). Technology is the usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Communications technology – or technologies is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: Internet, Mobile phones, Radio, Television, Fax, Computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Communication technology has impacted a lot of lives in Zambia positively and negatively as will be illustrated in the foregoing explanations. The Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers. (Webopedia). Some of the negative impact that the Internet has had on the lives of people in Zambia are as discussed hereunder. The Internet facilitates electronic commerce, a platform where buyers and sellers of different products and services trade e. g e-bay, amazon.
Sometime back, a person from Zambia would travel to Japan to buy a car but with the advent of Internet, people are buying vehicles and any other needed products online using the Internet thereby saving transport costs, lodging and costs spent on food while travelling to and from Japan. Sellers of commodities and services in Zambia advertise them on the Internet and this increases the chances of selling and buying as the adverts are seen globally and this way, buyers are able to select better suppliers by negotiating the prices with various suppliers.
The Internet provides the fastest means of communication via email, instant messaging facilities such as Skype, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Social Networking fora such as face book and twitter. People in Zambia have taken advantage of this technology and collaborate over the internet. The Internet also facilitates e-learning, that is, all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching.
A lot of people in Zambia who otherwise do not have enough time or money to attend full time classes have received their training from e-learning colleges or universities. The students access lecture materials, receive assignments, post their completed assignments and sometimes take exams online using the internet anywhere as long as they have internet access. With the new technology of Internet, peoples’ lives in Zambia have been impacted positively in that they are able to get bank statements via email at no cost where as hard copy bank statements cost money.
People are also able to do Internet banking such as view account balances and statements, make inquiries on fixed deposits, interest rates and foreign exchange rates, print current statements and also for specified periods, inquire on cheques status, transfer funds from one account to the other, make third party transfers adding or modifying beneficiary details, can send messages to a branch, make utility payments such as Multichoice, water and electricity. Zanaco bank is one of those banks that offers such facilities in Zambia.
Internet banking has saved a lot of peoples’ time that they spent on the queues at the bank and at the counter as they are being attended to by the tellers. With a credit card, people in Zambia are able to send money online easily, safely at a reasonable fee using facilities such as paypal as compared to high charges offered by banks when making bank drafts in favour of foreign companies. The Internet however has had negative impacts on the lives of people in Zambia as described below. Some websites contains immoral materials in the form of text, pictures or movies etc.
These websites damage the character of new generation. Due to lack of control and awareness on the dangers of using the Internet, others have used the Internet to access pornographic materials and have gotten addicted. Pornography is a danger to a person’s life. Some Habitual users of the Internet have become addicted. Though different from chemical addiction, it is a real problem as some have lost employment and suffered other adverse effects from overuse. Computers attached to internet are more prone to virus attacks and these have led to crashes of hard disks of some computers.
The Internet provides means by which theft of personal information such as name, address, credit card number etc. is conducted. Once this information is accessed from the internet user, culprits use such to do illegal transactions that leads to financial loss. Some Zambians have also lost money through on-online ordering by people who pretend to be selling certain goods or providing some services. Others have received defective items after ordering on-line and the costs of returning have been high while other merchants do not even accept return of goods once received by buyers. A Mobile Phone (also called obile, cellular telephone, or cell phone) is an electronic device used to make mobile telephone calls across a wide geographic area. The mobile phone technology has impacted positively the peoples’ lives in Zambia in the following ways: For quicker transactions, mobile phones offer a quicker and more convenient way of accessing the Internet and people communicate globally in a faster way with family, friends and customers using a mobile. The mobile phone is multi-functional, meaning it has calendar, time, date, calculator, camera, games, multimedia facilities such as music, video, Internet and email.
A mobile phone is very portable and can be used worldwide if it is not locked to a service provider. (Gidens, A. 2001:468). When an arrangement is made with the local phone service provider, a local number can be used in a foreign country (International Roaming) without missing important calls unlike when a Sim Card for the country being visited is used. The Mobile phone is being used in emergencies to call the police on hotlines like 991 in order to avert crime. The police are also using the mobile phones for the accident victims to locate or trace their relatives in instances where the victims are unconscious or deceased.
People use mobile phones to alert fire brigade in case of fire and also call for ambulance services when there is an accident or a critically ill patient that needs urgent medical attention. On the Mobile phone and if one has a Zambia national Commercial Bank (Zanaco) Xapit Account for example, that person is able to check bank balance, transfer money to any account within Zanaco and to other Bank accounts outside Zanaco, top up airtime and pay utility bills such as Water, Multichoice and University of Zambia fees. www. zanaco. co. zm/) Despite these positive impacts, the mobile phone has had a negative impact on the lives of people in Zambia in the following ways: People who use the mobile phone while driving have caused accidents that have led to the loss of lives and incapacitation of others. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal and is in contradiction of traffic rules. Excessive or improper use of a mobile phone e. g with high volume levels has also led to damage of ears for some users in Zambia.
The other negative impact is that Productivity levels have gone down in some work places as most of the employees abuse their phones by spending time texting, phoning, watching videos, emailing, surfing the net or listening to music instead of doing company work. In the same vein, some school going children also abuse the mobile phone instead of concentrating on studies hence their performance in class goes down. The use of mobile phones has also contributed to high marriage divorce levels in that planning of meetings and dates are done by parties concerned secretly without the spouses knowing.
Also, a mobile phone can be expensive to buy and attractive and some young girls and women alike cannot afford such but want to have possession of the same. Some men take advantage of the female’s deficiencies and buy the device and talk time for them to communicate and in due course have sex with them or abuse them. The same has been true for some women who have a lot of money and take advantage of the young men. Due to sexual relations that develop as described above, the mobile phone has contributed to high levels of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV AIDS.
Mobile phone usage has also led to family disintegration in that it leads to isolation and limits the ‘face to face time’ with friends and family as others would not want to physically visit another but would rather send an sms or make a phone call. In public places like buses and restaurants, the use of mobile phones is regarded by some people as a nuisance because of the disturbance it causes due to the sound of ringtones it produces and the conversations that go on as a result of the call. (Gidens, A. 2001:469).. Radio is the transmission of signals by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Radio transmission has positively impacted peoples’ lives in Zambia in so many ways, as it has been used as a tool of information dissemination. People in remote places rely on radio for information on what is happening in the nation as well as other countries. Besides Government owned radio stations like Radio 1, radio 2 there are other privately owned radio stations such as Phoenix, Flava, Ichengelo, Yatsani, Chikuni Community,Mano, Chikaya etc. Some of these radio stations also broadcast in local languages apart from English.
The radio has been used by many individuals and institutions to advertise products and services. During elections for example, the radio also plays a very important role in that, candidates are able to reach out to electorates and the entire nation and other countries. Election results are also announced on radio and reaches mass audience. In the sensitization of various programs like HIV/AIDS awareness, malaria prevention, cholera breakouts and other epidemics, the Government of the republic of Zambia through the ministry of health has used the radio as an effective means of communication.
By Radio, Farmers in Zambia are informed about better methods of farming, availability of farming inputs and prices as well as possible markets and prices so that they make informed decisions in crop planting and marketing seasons. The Radio has also been facilitating learning, for example Learning at Taonga Market which is an Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) radio series – an initiative of the Zambian Ministry of Education Directorate of Distance Education and supported by USAID’s QUESTT project that broadcasts educational radio programs.
Spreading of the word of God has also been made possible by Local radio stations like Christian voice, Ichengelo and others. The use of Radio has however impacted negatively the lives of people in Zambia in that Some radio stations have been playing songs that are damaging to the youths thereby corrupting their morals. Television Refers to a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images “Television” may also refer specifically to a television set, television programming or television transmission. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Television has been used as the most effective means of visual and audio communication in Zambia and therefore has had a lot of positive impacts on the lives of people. It has been used to air special educational programmes and thus, television has been very useful to all – students, grown -up literate or illiterate persons in Zambia. It is also a popular means of entertainment as various channels show different programmes, plays, musical programmes, football and telefilms.
News bulletins on Television keep us well-informed about important events happening in zambia and the world. For instance, the developmental projects going in the country like the upcoming Stadium in Ndola, the earth quakes, Tsunami impact on sea, and road accidents etc are televised to the spectators. Also, advertising on Television has been the most effective way to reach buyers and sellers of goods and services in Zambia. There are some negative impacts that Television has had on the lives of people in Zambia.
Too much T. V viewing has affected some peoples’ eyes. Some students spend quite a lot of time in viewing the TV programmes and thus TV is a hindrance to studies. Scenes of horror, murders, violence etc. that are televised have affected some people negatively. This is so because young people or even elderly learn by imitating what they see on television screens. (Fieldman, R. S Fifth Edition : 170) A fax (short for facsimile) is a document sent over a telephone line. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) The fax machine though faces competition from Technologies like Internet still retain some advantages, particularly in the transmission of sensitive material which, if sent over the Internet unencrypted, may be vulnerable to interception. So people in Zambia can send or receive fax messages with peace of mind. For sending urgent documents Fax machines are a great option if it is a paper that cannot easily be sent through email.
Though the Fax has impacted the lives of people in Zambia positively, it has however negative impacts in that its costly to run as it uses paper feed motors, toner cartridges, paper and optical scanners to send, receive and print documents. All these have to be available for a hard copy to be made and a lot of people in Zambia may not afford to buy all these accessories to run a Fax machine Conclusion The new communication technology has brought about a lot of negative impact on the lives of people in Zambia and can be wonderful tools of communication if properly used.
If not properly used however, this technology can be harmful and may lead to death in certain circumstances. References Fieldman, R. S Essentials of Understanding Psychology Fifth Edition McGraw-Hill Company Gidens, A. (2001). Sociology Blackwell Publishers Ltd Hagedorn, R. (1986). Sociology Canada, Rinehart and Winstone of Canada Ltd (Third Edition) Mwansa, D. M, Moonga. A. (2005). Study and Communication Skills First Edition Sen, L. (2004). Communication Skills, New Dheli, Prentice Hall of India Private Ltd Sillars, S. (1998). Success In Communication, London, John Murray Publishers Ltd Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaWebopedia