Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Communications and the Cell Phone Addiction Part I (a)

By Miriam B. Medina

This is part one of a two-part series about the many uses and the history of the cell phone. In part one; we'll follow a brief history of communications as it evolved, from ancient times until the 19th century.

Today, everywhere you look people are talking into a mobile device, aka their cell phone. Even in places where they are not allowed, people always manage to find a way to use the sometimes annoying communication tool. Cell phones have become an essential communications tool, too. They are utilized by all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, genders, academic and economic levels. For someone who is being abused and stalked, in a moment of danger, the cell phone can save his or her life, but there are new challenges as well as problems that are associated with this innovative mobile device. The cell phone serves many purposes, and no, it's not just a mobile video game device or a device to store catchy ring tones on. Not only has it become so crucial to our communication needs through speaking and text messaging, it can also capture and hold an image from the moment and can alert you to news, help you find better traffic routes and so on.

But the fact is, there are times when it becomes so irritating and uncomfortable to hear cell phone users and their loud, laughing, raucous, annoying conversations as they dominate public places. Do you care what someone you don't know will be having for dinner tonight with stinky Aunt Emma, what clothes they are going to wear, or whether their employer is a pain in the butt? I know I don't care if they have a bad hair day or that they are suffering from hemorrhoids, and I don't want to hear the details of how they'll be implanting that suppository. Does it matter if Jennifer's mother-in-law (who she apparently hates) is coming to visit, or whether Sue was unfaithful to Joe, and is now pregnant and needs to get an abortion pronto. If I want to hear that type of stuff, I'll turn on Jerry Springer. I certainly don't want to hear about it while I'm standing in line at the bank.

This type of behavior places those within listening reach in an awkward position. Plus, cell phones are terribly distracting, especially when driving. It is the primary cause of accidents. Intexticated is more than just a word made up by the police, it's a dangerous habit that kills people. I just can't imagine how people are able to type text messages while driving. Statistics show it's like having a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. Also, people rely so much on their cell phones that they forget all about the minutes and expenses that are associated with its use. Yikes! They hit the roof when they learn how much they have to pay for their monthly bill, yet they are the ones ignoring the terms of service. Oh well, the joy of small sacrifices. Have you noticed that there are now signs at the receptionist desk when you go to the Doctor's office, to please turn off the cell phones? There are too many people totally addicted to cell phone use, even 30 minutes of having to shut it off is pure torture to them, inducing enormous stress and anxiety. I watch them as they twitch nervously in their seats, running outside now and then to the hall for their quick fix, drool sliding down their twitching mouths as you hear the bzzzz... vibrating in their pockets. Unable to answer, they storm off 'To the bathroom.' Even through the walls you can still hear "Hey what's doin'? These individuals are continuously checking their phones for voice mails and text messages, and if there aren't any, their self-esteem takes a nose dive.

To be continued: Communications and the Cell Phone Addiction Part I (b)

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