Ring, Ring! Cell Phone Abuse Leads to AddictionThursday, December 16, 2010 By By Jacob Berk ‘12
Cell phones are responsible for many things. They allow us to communicate with each other across the globe, they provide entertainment, and they are now one of the factors indicating a person’s social status. However, what happens if these wonder devices become overused? Just take a look around and you’ll find your answer. Cell phones have become so common that it’s odd to find somebody without one. Lower prices of phones and plans are the main reason for this phenomenon. Due to this, parents are giving cell phones to children at younger ages every year. www.gizmodo.com found that the average age for a child to receive a cell phone in the USA is 8 years old. Since parents want to be in contact with their children for emergencies, this is understandable behavior. However, out of 170 students surveyed for this article, 110 have never called 911 or used their cell phones for an emergency. Most of the remainder have only called once or twice, with a further minority calling more than three times. Unfortunately, this is not as innocent as it sounds. Just because a student hasn’t called 911 doesn’t mean he or she didn’t have a reason to. I have observed on more than one occasion an accident or fist fight break out, only to see people whip out their phones to take pictures or video, which I often see on Facebook later. School is another part of teenager’s lives where cell phones are taking a toll on teenagers. From the same survey stated earlier, 87 out of 170 students use their phones in class, and 72 said that their phone causes problems with homework or studying. It is all too common for me to observe students who have their phones out nonstop in class, fail tests and blame the teacher for “bad teaching methods.” This is ludicrous behavior, as it is wrong to place blame where it is not due. Cell phones also require money, and in many cases, a lot of it. Most students surveyed had phones that cost $150 or more. Half pf the group has phones costing more than $250. Cell phones need service plans, and this is where the real money vacuum is seen. A majority of students have service plans costing somewhere between $50 and $100. On average, that’s $900 a year, and for what? So you can tell your friends that you’re are currently drinking a cup of coffee? This wouldn’t be so bad if the teenagers pay the bill, but in 87% of families, the parents pay. Cell phones also have similar qualities as drugs. They can be addicting, and if you take it away from a heavy user, it can cause emotional conflicts, similar to withdrawal from drugs. So am I saying we should all throw our phones on the ground and stomp them into little bite-sized pieces? Not quite. Cell phones have practical use, but the problem is that these tools have become toys. Extra bells and whistles encourage using a phone more, and the whole point of them, which is to act as a home telephone on-the-go, is being missed. The simple solution would be to only offer plans that cover emergencies. These exist, but are typically only used by parents with young children. Unfortunately, it looks like cell phones will continue to be an extension of our bodies for many years to come.