Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Communications and the Cell Phone Addiction Part II (d)

By Miriam B. Medina

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So here we are in the 21st century, with the most advanced medium of communicative technology for homes and businesses, as technology has filled in the gaps from the technology of the 20th century by introducing new, more innovative forms of communication. It is truly an era where people rely entirely on advanced technology for its everyday existence.

Though there are numerous examples of the existing range of communicative devices which I could continue to elaborate on, I prefer to resume my first analysis on the use of cell phones today, examining some of its features to which many have become addicted.

The first mobile phone call took place on June 17, 1946 when a driver in St. Louis, MO., withdrew a handset from under his car's dashboard and placed a call. By 1948, wireless telephone service became available in almost 100 cities. The first truly portable cellular phone was unveiled to the world by Motorola in 1983. It was called the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. It was approved for use in the United States by the FCC.

What was at one time expensive and limited, a tool for only the elite to use, today having a cell phone is common and widespread. The impact of its unique design allows it to fit into a pocket or in the palm of your hand, where you can speak or text messages to another person while you walk about, unrestricted. This is what makes it so much different and more freeing than being tied to a computer, though on a desktop you are connected to everywhere on the Internet via email, you are still limited to the desk area.

The disadvantage of cell phone service is that it weakens the basic human relations and personal interactions. This may result in creating a barrier between people and the existing community.

As a friend recently told me, electronic devices such as cell phones and modes of communication have replaced the personal warmth in relationships of a one on one contact with a human life. Though email connection is always used because of its convenience and can be sent to any number of recipients, I must agree that it does not reveal the sense of a real-life conversation. On the contrary, the cell phone, with its full contents and communicative abilities has become an essential part of most people's lives. Nonetheless, as I previously stated, cell phone conversations in public are extremely annoying, embarrassing and interruptive. As a result of this, I believe text-messaging by cell phone users has become the biggest revolution in communications.

Teenagers and some adults use text messaging because they find phone conversation extremely uncomfortable, they don't know what to say, whereas with texting, they have more time to think. Statistics say that "the average teenager sends nearly 3,000 texts a month." Yikes. That can create one hellacious bill! Parents need only know two words in this day and age to stay out of the poor house; unlimited texting.

Parents keep in touch with their children off at college using cell phones, which is the favorite method of choice instead of the land line phone. Not only do they use the cell phone, they also communicate via email and instant messaging. Regular mail is used only by a minute portion of society these days. Although parents feel more comfortable visiting their children in person at college, sometimes this desire is often met with resistance.

Cell phones are terrific and extremely convenient, but they also can take over and become detrimental to most people's quality of life, especially when its use becomes an addiction. For instance, when you got your first cell phone, you were so excited that you could not wait to send out your phone number to all of your friends and relatives. Since then, they, including mom, call nonstop at all hours of the day, even at work, flooding your voice mail with crazy long drawn out messages. Are you searching online for new ring tones to use, because the music you previously selected has become down-right maddening from the frequency of the calls received? I'll never listen to Baby Got Back again. Cell phone use is so much a part of one's daily life, it becomes your best friend, your constant companion. There is always an insatiable need to talk. Are we becoming cell phone junkies? Do you know that some people even take the thing to the bathroom so they can talk while they sit on the throne. We have become emotionally attached to it to the point of obsession. Sometimes one imagines it ringing when it is not. It is a natural body reflex to reach for your phone, because this is what the body is amazingly programmed to do when there is addiction. Ever look for your phone when someone else in the crowd has the same ring tone and their phone rings? You're always checking your pocketbook or pants pocket to see if it's there. Your last act before going to bed is to put your cell phone in the charger to extend the life of the battery, so your conversation doesn't get cut short and you feel like your world has ended. You even feel naked if you leave the house without it. You'll do without food in order to pay that bill to keep it active. Just like parents who brag about their kids, cell phone users brag about their latest features and upgrades. Sometimes after using my cell phone at home, I forget where I put it, which triggers a panic attack. Thank God I have a landline phone where I can call it's number, and when it rings, what a relief to find it. Cell phone addiction is becoming more prevalent in the 21st century, and it probably will get worse as new technology keeps replacing the old. It's surprising how much valuable time is spent between checking messages and making calls, time that we once used long ago for making new friends, having face to face conversations, or observing nature and the people that surround us. And cell phones are supposed to s-a-v-e us time, not steal it from us.

But that's the real problem with society today, we spend so much time obsessing over our cell phones and who called and who texted and who said what or reading that funny forwarded joke or picture, that we lose track of what's important, the people on the other end of the line, or more aptly, on the other end of the satellite. Soon we'll be text marrying, saying our I do's from hundreds of miles away at the lovely price of.10 cents per minute, which is so much cheaper than getting everyone together.

Perhaps cell phones are tearing us apart more so than bringing us closer. Simply text I'm lonely and I need some human interaction to 555-1212 if you agree.

I'm just kidding.

But standard text rates probably do apply!

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