Steve Sheridan Professor Simakowicz 1st Draft Paper 13 April 2010 “Do Cell Phones Help or Hinder Society? ” Times have changed tremendously in the last twenty five years in regards to how the world communicates with each other. The birth of new technology such as cell phones with internet capability, laptop computers, and even the recently released I-Pad has made communication with anyone outside of talking distance immediately accessible. Even though to many people this seems like a movement in the right direction for the future of the world, there are still people who hold firm on the idea that communicating with people face to face is much better for society. Teenagers today use cell phones much more than any other age group, but they are not the only ones affected; parents and even young children have become wrapped up in mobile connectivity. Cell phone companies understand this and in an effort to make more money, they put out new hardware such as newer, more stylish cell phones and software such as internet, text messaging, and applications that can hold anyone’s attention for long periods of time. For the working class mothers and fathers, a call from the boss on a Saturday afternoon to come into work is never far away from possible. Each of these things causes problems in society that were less noticeable in past years, whereas the addiction to cell phones today is a full blown epidemic. Though cell phones have many positive functions and can help people in their everyday lives, the same negative effects of cell phones will only continue to grow and spread throughout society, and essentially have the capability to change everyday life as we know it now. It is noticeable everywhere you go in public. People no longer keep their cell phone in their pocket or a bag anymore. They have it in their hands so that they can be ready to use it in case of a call or text. This kind of behavior spills into home and family life, especially on parents. A study was put together by Professor Noelle Chelsey, who tested thirteen hundred adults over four years. The study concluded that, “people who consistently used a mobile phone or pager during the duration of the study were more likely to report increased levels of “spillover” between work and home, which led to decreased satisfaction with family life. ” (Reimer) The problems that mothers were facing were the calls that interrupted work from children. When a problem happened at home, the children would immediately call their mother. This would cause extreme amounts on her stress because she would be far away from being in place to help her child. On the other hand, the fathers had problems with work interrupting family life. Especially in today’s society, more and more jobs involve the employees taking home a personal laptop or work cell phone on order to always be in contact if needed. This greatly interrupts family life and can cause increased stress. Though this is such a negative side effect, it still seems that people are still too fond of their own cell phones to ever realize the problems they are creating. It is unbelievable how people today are constantly in contact with one other. There are always text messages being sent or received that it seems like people are more interested in what is going on in their cell phone life compared to talking to people in social settings. The largest problem is that the general teenage population of the world has conformed to the cell phone fad, which actually in turn makes texting people and playing cell phone videos the “cool” thing to do. John Crippen, a man who has written about the dangers of over excessive cell phone use writes, “From cell phones to video games, computers to DVD’s, the documented effect on kids and teens is unquestionably negative. These negative effects are caused primarily by the tendency to withdraw from social interaction, withdrawal from society in general, a lack of exercise – even vitamin deficiencies resulting from lack of sunshine. ” (Crippen) Unfortunately, Crippen’s statement has a large amount of truth behind it. People today literally do not get enough personal interactions during the day due to the fact that everyone they talk to is on their cell phone. This is a problem because average conversations with people are becoming increasingly more awkward and people simply do not know how to talk to each other. It is a fact that people even use their cell phones in order to make them feel better in awkward social situations. If a person is walking through a crowded social place and they are alone, they even fake that they are on the phone so they do not put themselves into ocial situations that make them feel awkward. This fact is enough for anyone to realize that cell phones have negatively affected how people communicate with each other and how they build relationships. The last and most important negative factor that cell phones have and everybody seems to take part in, is text messaging. There was at first instant messenger on computers which required the person to be online and at the computer to talk to others who are also online. Cell phone companies have taken that idea and turned instant messenger into a never ending spectrum. Texters send messages at all times of the day, and the worst part about it is that you can be literally anywhere to send or receive a message. In light of this global problem, Louisa Burgess wrote an article describing the horrible effects that cell phones have on society. She says, “it’s so impersonal. Unfortunately, some people carry it to such an extreme that it takes the place of other contact such as the phone or in- person conversation. I personally know people who have even broken up over text messages. The problem seems to be that you can’t see the face of the person who is text messaging you nor can you hear the tone in their voice. (Burgess) This reiterates the fact that people today actually prefer sending messages to people instead of talking to them in real life. Looking back to the past, before modern technology, all conversations and human interaction was all personal and face to face. Times have changed dramatically to the point where seniors in society have taken notice of the impersonal relationships that people have today with their peers compared to how personal their relationships with each of their friends and family were. She continues with, “Text messaging isn’t any more polite in my opinion. The point is, it still requires a lack of attention to what is going on around you, specifically in this case the conversation you are having with your date, your boss, your spouse or child. There is no excuse for rude social behavior. Text messaging has become so rampant that it has become another negative thing to do while in a social or business situation. ” (Burgess) This point is the most important knock on cell phone use today. In a world where everything is moving so fast people feel the need to always be in touch with everyone that they are friends with all the time. So much so that when they are with their friends or family in person, the cell phone conversation they are having with people they are away from takes over the current conversation and they ignore the people around them. This of course means that people have become so engrossed in their phones that they cannot be left without them. If some body’s cell phone is broke for a period of time, the lack of cell phone could drive a person crazy today. It bothers them enough, that they feel the need to tell everyone about their lack of a cell phone. It is at this point that somebody should make them aware that their cell phone and their status to the mobile world is more important than what is happening in front of their face. Looking at the problem overall, it seems like it will never be fixed. The fad that started out with cell phones the size of your left arm and service that allowed you to make calls almost nowhere, has evolved to pocket sized gadgets with customizable ringtones, text messaging, and internet access. It is no longer a fad, but a worldwide addiction that cannot be fueled enough. New technology will constantly come out at high prices and the world will pay the money to feed a socially unsocial addiction. It seems the people who feel the negative impacts of cell phones more than the positive ones are the same people who are going to have to either conform, or withdraw from society because at this point, there will never be a vaccine to counteract the new technology that catches every persons eye. In a time where cell phones are the one of the most important things in every bodies lives, it seems the question to ask when you meet a friend on the street is not, “Hi, How are you? but, “Who are you texting and what did he/she say? ” Works Cited Burgess, Louisa. “The Negative Effects of Text Messaging. ” Associated Content – Associatedcontent. com. 24 May 2008. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. . Crippen, John. “Press Release – The Negative Effect Of Too Much Technology On Kids And Teens – Author John Crippen Offers A Solution. ” Press Release Service and Distribution – 24-7PressRelease. com. 1 Apr. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. . Reimer, Jeremy. “New Study Finds Cell Phones Disrupt Family Life. ” Ars Technica. Conde Nast Digital, 5 Jan. 2006. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. .
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