On April 3, 1973 Martin Cooper introduced the very first personal cellular telephone call to the public. Since then the phone advancement in size and technology has moved like a tornado. From an instrument the size of a brick with a rigid antennae to today’s phone of playing card size, many aspects of our lives have changed along with it.
Cellular communication has shrunken the world to the push of a button. Almost any location is quickly accessible. Problems are solved and problems are created at the speed of sound. In cities around the globe, the look is very similar. People walking, running, riding and driving with a cell phone attached to their ear. Recently even Pope Frances showed concern when he said, “Put down that gadget and talk!” Communication can be created but also it can be destroyed. Misunderstandings are frequent when one cannot see the person to whom they are talking. Much is transmitted by the facial expression and gestures, which are lost in a phone conversation.
Families are beginning to feel the distance created by each member talking or reading messages rather than communicating with one another face to face. Recently a letter was published in the local newspaper from a husband who stated that his wife constantly looked down at her phone, seeming to ignore him and their three children. He continued, she is totally unaware of what is being said or seen by the rest of the family. He asks, is this the new norm of socialization? In addition, within the family, schoolwork is disrupted when there is notification of a new message. Consequently, less time is spent on homework. Work being done intermittently is of lesser quality because of cell phone disruption. A time and place for basic technology must be determined and enforced in order to function and to communicate as a family.
Explored in several television programs is the theory that smart phones are becoming the new cigarettes. Even people who were never addicted to nicotine are using the cell phone as a constant social prop. Observe people on the street or those sitting at a conference. When they don’t know anyone, they feel awkward and out of place. What do they do? They reach for their phone. Walking down the street alone, they reach for their phone. It gives a person something to do and something to make the time go faster. These occurrences show signs of dependence, a modern version of what a cigarette did for generations in the past.
The results of constant use of a cell phone harm the ability to communicate face to face. Digital skills impact the ability to speak and write properly. Consequences of this are social awkwardness, anxiety, rudeness and the safety of all concerned.
The helpful uses for the cell phone explosion are that it provides safety by always having someone to contact if necessary, improve the ability to stay in touch with friends and relatives living in distant locations, confirming plans quickly, and checking inclimate weather alerts.
The rapidly advancing age of technology is not going to reverse. How to successfully live in this time is the question. The answer becomes the same as with any potential problem, AWARENESS. Treating the constant usage of the cell phone calls for MODERATION and certainly self-imposed RESTRAINT on the part of the responsible owner of the device. Thus, thinking of others should be kept first and foremost. Remember—Good Manners Never Go Out of Style!