Cell phones have become an extremely popular gadget used for daily living and, in most cases, have replaced landlines when it comes to communication. Becoming more technologically advanced, these devices can take and send pictures and videos instantly, as well as connect to the web for surfing. Many people, even children, now have their own cell phones, with the potential to do an endless number of tasks, such as looking for answers to certain questions. However, they can also expose us to unfavorable situations.
As we might notice, everywhere we go, you can see a lot of people with their eyes glued to the small screens, which gives some people a unsightly view on our future. Some of us are even obsessed with checking our Facebook accounts, uploading images on Instagram and tweeting about what a good time we are having, instead of actually having a good time.
All of these mean that responsible individuals, such as parents, guardians and teachers, need to be aware of both the pros and cons of cell phones before allowing anyone to use them at their own will.
List of Pros of Cell Phones
1. High Level of Portability
Many people have preferred to use cell phones to replace their landlines, as these gadgets are usually smaller and portable transportable. The need to stay around a certain area to use a landline is eliminated with a cell phone, as you can usually go across the states and countries with little worry of losing service with a mobile device. However, cell phone providers would often charge extra to your monthly bills to allow the service outside their home country.
2. Easy Access to the Web
Most cell phones these days are well built with a component that allows users to connect to the internet without utilizing a computer. This technology these gadgets have is really beneficial because people will no longer have any difficulty with searching for essential data they might need.
3. More Savings
Many mobile plans today include free features, including long-distance calls and a certain number of free text messages. These benefits can help us stay connected with families and friends who are living far away without incurring extra costs. Some providers even include convenient features, such as caller ID and free voice mails. This is the reason why many people choose to use mobile phones exclusively to rid themselves of monthly landline bills.
4. Constant Communication Between Parents and Children
Cell phones allow parents and their children to stay in touch. So, if a child needs to stay after school or needs a ride, he will be able to call his dad or mom to let them know his situation. This is especially important because pay phones are becoming rare. Cell phones can also be important in emergency situations when parents need to quickly get in touch with their children or vice versa.
5. Great Tracking Capabilities
The tracking devices installed in cell phones allow someone, such as a parent, to know the exact location of somebody important to him/her. Because these devices exist, both parties will have the assurance that they are in a safe place.
6. Added Safety
Good proof to support this is that cell phones can provide a measure of security if you get lost, if your car breaks down or if you feel threatened while walking through a poorly lit area. No other technology, aside from the mobile phone, has made people feel more connected with emergency services or family and friends who can run to their rescue.
7. Rescue for Emergencies
Somehow related to the previous pro, cellular phones have already saved many lives, due to their function to access the police, fire or ambulance teams to respond to emergency situations. Now, if you were to get lost in an unfamiliar place, you can just call for help to get out of the situation. Many models of these gadgets have very useful services, such as GPS and 24-7 hotlines, that can be accessed any time you are in distress. For disastrous events, like a tornado, earthquake or school attack, adults and children can immediately call for help.
8. More-Responsible Children
Cellular phones can help us teach children on how to be responsible. Parents can set guidelines for their children, such as staying within a text message range or certain minutes of call. For the children, they will learn to become responsible for their individual gadgets, especially when parents set rules about breaking or misplacing it.
9. Powerful Learning Tool
Because of the latest features and applications put in mobile phones these days, children will learn a lot of things from it.
10. Quickness and Convenience of Taking Pictures
With these devices, pictures can be taken instantly, sent out and deleted, often saving us time and money. Mothers can capture that funny and cute shots of their babies or you can take a photograph of a celebrity you spotted while out. Your phone camera can document the area you are parking in at a crowded theme park, can plot your work schedule and copy class notes without wasting paper or writing it down. Moreover it lets you take a picture of an interesting item that you want to remember later and just send it instantly to your mailbox or save it in your phone.
List of Cons of Cell Phones
1. Increased Cheating at School
Using cell phones to cheat in exams has become a big issue in many schools in the US. Students are now able to text answers under their desks while at it. Since many of these devices are compatible with the internet, schoolchildren can sometimes even find the answers using a search engine on their phones. And if they are caught cheating, they can face serious consequences from the administration.
2. Expensive Price
Cellular phones, especially smartphones, are really expensive to purchase, and you must earn and save lots of money first before you can own one.
3. Heightened Level of Danger
Records reveal that texting while driving has already caused millions of deaths from traffic accidents each year. Included in this number are teenagers, who are contributing to an insane amount of accidents due to mobile devices. While some cellular phones have already been integrated with voice-navigation and hands-free capabilities, the threat from using these devices while driving is not totally removed, but just downplayed. When driving, we should just resist to text or call because this can cause our attention to slip from the road, from which outcomes can be devastating.
4. More E-Waste
Everybody wishes to have the newest, fastest and fanciest cell phone on the market, and manufacturers are happy to oblige. Damage and upgrades are making millions of cell phones obsolete each year. Now, here is the problem: Cell phone coatings are formulated with lead, and these devices’ lithium-ion batteries can explode if exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures, which are the usual conditions in landfills. Though electronic-waste recycling rates are improving, they are too slow to cope up with the issue.
Especially among children, cell phones can be very distracting from more important events they should do, such as studying, doing homework or even crossing the street. Research shows that children are more likely to be hit by a vehicle if they are texting or talking on a cell phone while crossing the street. Since these gadgets can connect them to the internet easy, they would be taken away from their study or homework.
6. Too Much Convenience
Due to the high level of convenience, anyone can get a hold of you anywhere and anytime through mobile phones. Surely, there are certain times you do not want this, but people you know expect you to be reachable since you own such a device. This is true especially among teenagers who do not their parents to always call them while they are away.
Accept it—we are addicted to our mobile phones, and the idea of leaving them at home or turning them off would give us instant anxiety. This is also due to the fact that making an actual voice phone call can make many of us nervous, so we would just prefer to converse in short text messages. And again, many people are obsessed with checking in on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media networks.
8. Sex Exploitation
Sending sexual messages or pictures to or sexting another person is also an issue for parents to consider before purchasing cell phones for their children. There are already many cases where adults and children are receiving messages that include explicit messages from people who have their numbers and choose to send them such messages.
It is a big fact that cell phones are helpful to people. After all, they are created with a good purpose in mind, but many individuals are failing to know how to use them in a proper way. Based on the pros and cons listed above, what can you say about this issue?
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Mobile phones have become a hot commodity and have turned into a social norm. The introduction of smart phones has affected the way in which mobile phones are used and by whom. Due to mobile media, we are now able to communicate for free, watch movies on our phones, listen to music on the go and be currently updated with the latest news – all this information at the edge of our fingertips. However, this advancement in social media and technology has affected our values and culture, some good and some bad. Researchers and scientists have coined the term Mobilology, which is the study of mobile phones and how they affect human behavior, culture, education and economics. Mobile phones have altered social norms and values, and cultural progression.
They have made communication easy by enabling us decreased face to face interaction and meetings. Communication has become more impersonal, which contradicts the very use of communication (Rani, 2008). Children that grow up surrounded by mobile phones will eventually get used to impersonal communication and in the future, might find it hard to deal with simple day to day interaction (Rani). Rani also stated how the Short Messaging Service has redefined communication in a sense that what constitutes for communication these days is a few words typed and sent to one or many recipients without emotion and verbal cues. Aside from making interactions between people less personal, SMS has also affected the written form of English language in which children now use.
Mobile phones have also led to the birth of a generation that prefer being alone, glued to their phones and being extremely introverted (Rani, 2008). In our society currently, phones have become such a common device that most people feel exposed and isolated, feeling as if we are no longer able to communicate (Rogers, 2008). The art of conversation has become mobile, making mobile phones the lifeline to the outside world. Waiting and pesky overseas charges no longer apply as with the development of the Internet, there are now many applications that can be downloaded into the mobile phone to allow communication with people from all over the world. Calls and messages can now be sent for free, and all anyone needs is a wi-fi connection, and perhaps some of us treasure this connection more than we do with connections with our friends and family.
Mobile technology has paved a pathway to a society that’s always ‘on’ (Rani, 2008). Anyone is easily reachable at any time of day and place through their cell phones. The whole world, with over 7 billion people can connect to one another with just a flick of the finger or the keying in of numbers. Rani also wrote that this tool can come in handy during emergencies, as a person is able to get help at all times of day and night – probably saving his or her life. However, the use of mobile phones at inappropriate times for example while driving, in the cinema or in class has brought about some unwanted and unethical consequences.
Read more: Uses and Misuses of Mobile Phones
Driving while using mobile phones has led to many cases of accidents and car crashes. Multitasking can prove to be quite a task, and not always an easy one – resulting in the driver not being able to concentrate on the road (Rani). Although there are many laws in most countries against talking on phones while controlling a vehicle, there are many of us who take this lightly and break it with ease. The social norms in classrooms have changed with the use of mobile phones. Students are sometimes more pre-occupied with the little screens on their fancy gadgets as opposed to doing what they are actually in school for – to learn (MIT Communications Forum, 2005). 41% of students say that the usage of phones in class to check messages should be allowed and only a 7% feel it is highly inappropriate to use phones in class at all while the teacher is conducting a class (MIT Communications Forum).
Next, the MIT Communications Forum also brought up the issue that the usage of cell phones in cinemas, museums, public transports and restaurants has a very thin line between being appropriate and inappropriate. This new culture of talking loudly on the phone in public places disrupts others who come to and particular venue to enjoy a quiet night out or to watch a movie in peace. Although there are no rules in black and white that prohibit the use of cell phones in these places, it comes without saying that these invisible ethical laws ought to be respected and obeyed.
In conclusion, we can see how mobile phones have changed our cultures in both good and bad ways. Although these devices have brought people from different parts of the world closer together, it does not mean it has not failed to alienate the people closest to us. As useful as mobile phones are, it is important to use them accordingly and not make them our lifeline to the outside world. Communication consists of verbal and non-verbal cues and this is what makes us feel close to one another, and measures should be taken to ensure this does not stop.
Rogers, N. (2008). How mobile phones have affected the art of conversation. Helium. Retrieved from http://www.helium.com/items/1002068-how-mobile-phones-have-affected-the-art-of-conversation Rani, B. (2008). Culture and Social Impact of Mobile Technology. BrightHub. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/computing/windows-platform/articles/15230.aspx Katz, J., & Wang, J. (2005). Cell Phone Culture. MIT Communications Forum. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/forums/cell_phone_culture.htm