Almost every adult and child owns a mobile phone, as it is considered to be one of the most popular inventions in the world technological era. As such, cell phones have turned out to be an integral part of the contemporary life, as phones make life easier and more convenient.Technology with the need to keep in touch has, therefore, caused the spread of cell telephones in the world. Mobile phones are able to provide the voice calling, text messaging, entertainment, directions and web access at the click of a button. Nowadays, people are extremely busy; thus, they are not keen on interacting and knowing people at a personal level. That is why the need for cell phones becomes inevitable and obvious, despite some drawbacks cell phones are considered to have.
History of Mobile Phones
The history of mobile phones begins with Samuel Morse, who, in 1832, conceived of an electromagnetic telegraph and constructed its experimental version in 1835, which he improved in 1842. His telegraph was the first device to send messages by the use of electricity. Later, Martin Cooper, the founder of the cell phone, was offered a job by Motorola in 1954 that worked on developing portable products, and led Motorola’s cellular research. Meanwhile, in 1947, the research arm of AT&T, Bell Laboratories, came up with the idea of cellular communications. On April 3, 1973, using a heavy 30-ounce phone at a public demonstration, Martin Cooper made the first cellular phone call to his rival at the AT&T Bell Laboratories from the streets of New York. The popularization of the cell phone use in the last few years has been astounding. In 1988, approximately, there were 500,000 mobile phone users in the USA. By 1993, this number had increased to 13,000,000. By 2006, there had been 223 million mobile phone users (Tom, 2007).
Advantages of Mobile Phone Use
Some of the benefits that are obvious from the usage of mobile phones include convenient, fast and easy communication. They also enhance mobility, since one can bring his/her phone everywhere without missing calls, especially the important ones. Many elements of existence in the modern world are simplified with the help of cellular phones. Other advantages are: opportunity of seeking help during the emergency and opportunity to get some entertainment.
Disadvantages of Mobile Phone Use
The use of mobile phones poses numerous problems, but the top issues on the list are social problems, health and economic issues. The use of mobile phones poses health risks, such as cancer, due to radiation emitted by the phones. They also cause financial problems, as they are costly to purchase and to be maintained. Moreover, people want to buy the most fashionable phones, thus, they replace their phones often, which is costly. Mobile phones also cause social problems, such as making people aloof, lonely, inclined to depression and not knowing people at a personal level (Hyland, 2000).
Mobile phones have made people aloof in that they do, not communicate face-to-face any more. Instead, people communicate through such means as instant messaging, video calls and cell phones. This has been taken to a higher notch, whereby people communicate through instant messaging, yet they are only two rooms away in the same house. Technology has also made people busy in many ways. As such, people tend not to do outdoor activities or eat, because they are stuck with their phones, either playing games, listening to music, watching videos or chatting on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. It has also been argued that people, who use internet, lose more friends, are lonelier and more inclined to depression than other non-Net users. Further, greater use of the Internet is connected with a decrease in size of the social contact, social circle and family communication.
Cognitive psychologists argue that part of the human brain that controls the vision becomes less active, while people focus on visual things when they have a conversation. For instance, when one talks and does some other task, the brain is not fully doing both processes at the same time.. Therefore, sometimes people concentrate more on the phone conversation than on what is happening around them. Their eyes are open, but they are missing things that are in the visual world and might be critical for them. This happens, since people must take their eyes off other people from time to time, while dialing, and they are become so involved in their conversations that they reduce their ability to concentrate on other physical conversations (Hyland, 2000).
Cell phones can dehumanize the dynamics of the human contact, since even during meetings, some people are utterly disinterested, and instead, they become totally occupied with text messaging and mobile instant messenger. They become occupied with their cell phones without interacting with people from the real life in front of them. Some people might not know how to communicate with people in real life anymore, and prefer to communicate through mobile phones. Such phones may also detract from personal contact at meetings due to constant interruptions of incoming texts and messages, which hamper the concentration on the task at hand.
People are busy with their phones, using numerous applications, thereof, to make small talks with people around them. Further, they engage in conversations that are meaningless, even though they are involved in the best conversations. Therefore, it would be better to text someone that one would like to speak to directly, than talk to them through the phone. This extends to both friendships and love relationships, whereby people communicate with their loved ones at any time to the detriment of productivity.
The emergence of cell phones has led to losing some healthy habits, such as punctuality. For instance, before the mobiles came to existence, people tried to keep time. This is no longer the case, since people are not afraid of running late, as they can call the ones they were to meet to inform them that they will be late. This is somehow an admirable thing, as one gets to apologize for being prone to be late, but it can become irresponsible when one makes a habit of it.
The aforementioned problems are caused by the individual addictive relation formed between the user and his mobile telephone. Cell phone addiction was marked by the sociologists and psychiatrists as one of the most influential nondrug addictions in the century. People are demonstrating symptoms of “withdrawal,” such as depression and confusion, when they spend a day without their cell phones. Surprisingly, using the cell phone becomes their daily activity. Most prevalently, it either directly or indirectly controls the whole life style of such people. Although, when the number of calls decreases, or when they lose their cell phones, mostly all addiction-related symptoms become more prevalent. According to some psychologists, this issue is mostly prevalent among unconventional, unsociable, and not confident groupings, and more precisely, young people among the grouping. Some people try to interact with the outside world with their cell phone, just to shape and secure their self-esteem. In practice, they are insecure about their existence, and just to confirm, whether they are forgotten by the world, or abandoned (Hyland, 2000).
Differences between Being Connected and Having a Connection
Being connected is the process, by which one is plugged into his/her phones. While having a connection is establishing networks with people. Successful networking is achieved through meeting more people, and the network can work for someone. Therefore, if one has a large network, one is technically well-connected, even though it is a passive state. It has to be activated to its true potential by one being a connector. The connector should help people in their network by connecting them with others in the network to achieve personal or professional goals. This is achieved by keeping in touch; while being connected is the first step to having a connection. Being connected also helps people get connections, whereby people can communicate with others who are thousand miles away from them. It, therefore, enhances socialization, which is extremely beneficial to humans, as it helps them learn, interact and gain the experience needed to live. (Heinz Marketing, 2012)
Mobile phones are a necessary evil, since as much as they pose problems in life, people cannot live without them. Therefore, it is upon people whether to use mobile phones wisely to their benefit by minimizing irrelevant use of phones or not. Further, people should strive for knowing people personally and not through social media.