I fear the day that technology will surpass human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots. (Albert Einstein) Cell phones are amazing pieces of technology that connect us to the rest of the world. We can search any question that pops into our brains, we can play games to keep us occupied, we can socialize with anyone we want, we can even go shopping. With all the amazing things these small devices can do, it is impossible for cell phones to be dangerous. Actually, cell phones have proved they can be just that. Einstein feared the day we became zombies to technology which surpassed human interaction. I fear that day is among us. Potential health risks, distracted driving, Predators, and overall addiction prove that cell phones can be more harmful than we know.
It is true cell phones do a lot of amazing things. Phones connect us all over the world. In 2017, over sixty-eight percent of Americans owned a smartphone, and the numbers are only expected to grow. (Gordon) Phones enable us to talk to people all over the world. We have all knowledge at our fingertips. We can read any book we want instead of going to the library. We can shop for all of the stuff we need online and even buy groceries. We can entertain ourselves in any way we please. All of these things are quite amazing, but what are they costing us in the long run?
Cell phones let you talk to anyone you want, but what is really happening to your health when you put your phone up to your ear? Mainstream media and many news outlets cry that cell phones give you cancer. While that would be a hard-hitting piece of evidence, the statement is not technically true. The FDA came out with a statement saying that they conducted an experiment on 3,000 rodents and found that there is indeed a link between cell phone radiation and cancer. Radiation is electromagnetic waves of sub-atomic particles that can be dangerous. While the statement alone would convince many, there are some problems. The FDA’s decades-long experiment was used with outdated technology, and it was also performed on rodents, not humans. (Krans) Alex Berezow, a microbiologist and senior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health, tells us our cell phones give off one watt of radiation while our microwaves can give off 1,000 watts. (Krans) Even though this may not seem like proof that cell phones can be dangerous, another scientist mentions radiation can indeed be built up over time. (Krans) So, in theory, you could contract some form of cancer from cell phone radiation. Even though there is not a strong link, many professionals do say it is harmful to always have your phone physically on you or near you. The professionals say to keep the radiation source as far away as possible when not using it, do not sleep with the phone and limit a child’s interaction with cell phones, do not keep them in your pocket, and when calling use speakerphone or Bluetooth because it reduces the radiation. (Krans) While the data on cancer is still being tested, it is known that cell phones can be very harmful to your eyes and causes sleep deprivation. (Krans)
Another major and unintentional health risk is distracted driving. When you drive, all of your attention needs to be on the road, but in this day and age, cell phones make it harder to drive correctly. When driving a car, there can be three types of distractions: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distractions occur when you move your hands from the wheel, visual distractions occur when your eyes are not focused on the road, and cognitive distractions occur when your mind wanders from the task of driving. (Learn) Cell phone use while driving can make you commit all of these distractions. (Learn) Distracted driving is underreported, but it is estimated that twenty-seven percent of car crashes in 2015 involved cell phone use. (Learn) It is important that people are informed because texting while driving increases the risk of an accident or near-crash by twenty-three times. (Learn) When you take your eyes off the road for more than five seconds, you have already traveled the length of a football field. (Learn) So many people put themselves and others at risk when they choose to engage in this kind of behavior. Many people know that texting or using a phone while driving is dangerous, but they still choose to do it. Over eighty-four percent of drivers realize that texting while driving is wrong and should never happen, but thirty-six percent of the same people admitted to texting or using their phone while driving within the past month. (Learn) Have cell phones taken over our minds so much that we are willing to risk our lives and others for a text message? Is the e-mail you just sent more important than your life? These are the questions we must ask ourselves, and the statistics answer them for us. Obviously, cell phones are more important, more important than our lives. Distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,477 people in 2015, many of them were from cell phone usage. (Learn) These statistics show that people are becoming more careless as technology gets better and better. We must learn that there is more to life than a cell phone.
As time goes on, the technology is getting better and better. Paper is slowly becoming more and more obsolete. Everything is digital in this day and age. Now your everyday criminal is stepping up their game. Cell phones are a nice prize for criminals, and they use cell phones to commit crimes. Cell phone theft is becoming more and more common. Expensive smartphones are an ideal item selling nicely in the black market. In the United States, one in three people will have had their phone stolen. (Machay) This is a huge number of people. It is hard to believe something so small can cause so much criminal activity. Though in the Bible 1 Timothy 6:10 states, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Because we place a high value on cell phones, they are worth more money. This also makes them ideal for thievery. You may be worried someone may snatch your cell phone, but you should be more worried about someone hacking your personal information. Cell phones are not as secure as a computer or a laptop. It is extremely easy to track, take information, or host a scam. CNBC.com even has a video showing how a hacker can steal your information just by using your cell phone number. It is things like this that make cell phones a very dangerous weapon. Data and identity theft is a huge business in the criminal world. According to Forbes.com, about seventeen million people were affected by identity and data theft in 2014. It cost these people about fifteen billion dollars. Also, it is expected that data and identity theft is not going away any time soon. There are many ways your personal information can be used or taken without your knowledge. It can be taken if you have weak passwords. If your passwords are figured out, a hacker can change all your passwords and get your bank information through emails. (Frank) You can unknowingly give your password. Many time scam emails will be sent out disguised as maybe a bank e-mail or an Amazon email. They may ask for your password, and if you give it then your information has been stolen. (Frank)
While you are worried about predators trying to steal your personal information, he or she may be after something that is priceless-your children. Sexual predators use cell phones to get close to young children with the hope of manipulating them and using them. An article written by the San-Diego Union-Tribune explained how these sexual predators work. They get on websites or social media, commonly used on cell phones, and prey on children. In the specific article, a twenty-four-year-old man was arrested after having sex with a twelve-year-old girl he had met through a website. The girl had been reported missing by her mother and was found the next day in the man’s bedroom. Social media privacy settings can easily give away your child’s information and location especially if they have no idea what they are doing. (Littlefield) It is important to teach young children about cell phone technology if they are using it. It is estimated That 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given time and fifty percent of sex crimes committed against a minor involved the criminal obtaining pictures or information from social media. (Social) This is just another example of how cell phones can be dangerous.
One of the worst things the cell phone has caused is an addiction. People are simply addicted to their cell phones. On average someone will tap, touch, or swipe their cell phone almost 3,000 times a day. This has a negative effect on communication, and social interaction can be seen as a big problem in the eyes of an addict. (Hussung) The average American can spend up to 5 hours a day just browsing through their phone. (Hussung) When you do the math, we would spend an average of 1,825 hours a year, which would be seventy-six days. So on average, we waste seventy-six days of the year staring at a screen. Furthermore, fifty percent of teenagers say they are addicted to their cell phones. (Hussung) These teenagers also reported that it causes family conflict.
Cell phones while beneficial have changed us as a society. We are so wrapped up and blinded by our phones that it causes and influences destructive behaviors. It has health risks that we do not show much attention to. We are so obsessed we cause accidents. Predators steal our information or our children, and we are blatantly addicted. Overall, we value cell phones more than we do our own lives. It is time to take a step back and see the damage cell phones due.
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