Cell Phones in the Modern World
The article I chose to write about is Our Cell Phones, Our Selves by Christine Rosen. The reason why I picked this article is because I can relate with what Rosen says, although I don’t fully agree with her on everything. She points out many reasons why cell phones are a nuisance, but also the benefits to having one. A lot of things changed with cell phones since 2004, with hands free voice calling , laws that prohibit the use of handling cell phones while driving, and much more.
Cell phones are seen just about anywhere in the world. I believe there are more cell phones than people on this planet. That is how important cell phones are. Not having one is like not owning a car to transport yourself. Nowadays if you don’t own a cell phone than you in a way are not part of society. A cell phone is the most important tool you can have to socialize with other people. Whether it’d be with your friends, girlfriend, co-worker, boss, mother, whoever, it’s important to have one.
Motorola introduced the first mobile telephone in 1983. They were anything but elegant. They looked like gigantic bricks with a long antenna extending out of it. People would call them “luggables” rather than “portables” due to their size. Only the most powerful and wealthiest of people would own them. People would see these mobile phones as sort of a symbol of power and wealth. It would be rare if you ever saw one. Things were different back then. It was up until the 1990’s when mobile phones were more common since they became smaller, more portable, and way more affordable.
In a way the world changed when mobile phones were invented. People didn’t have to rely so much on location to communicate with a person so long as they had a cellphone and a working connection. A cell phone saves you time and money with its convenience. Not only that, but it can also save lives. When a car accident occurs, what should you do? Call for help, right? What more convenient way to do it than with your cell phone. It’s fast, and time is a factor in those types of situations.
Many jobs require you to use a cell phone. Paramedics use their camera phones to send pictures to their hospital of oncoming patients. Just about every job requires a cell phone whether it would be construction workers, doctors, lawyers, teachers. Cell phones are used to send text messages, pictures, voice recordings, just about anything virtual. Over ninety percent of cell phone users report feeling safer when having their phone. On the dreaded day of the terrorist attack, many people got a chance to speak to their families one last time thanks to these useful mobile devices.
Many parents feel they should purchase a cell phone for their child, which of course makes sense so they can easily call them to know their child’s whereabouts, or vice versa. However, some parents buy their child a cell phone not because they are concerned for their child’s safety, but simply because they don’t trust him/her. They choose to buy their child a cell phone just to monitor their child with the cell phone’s surveillance technology. Parents should trust their child rather than invade their privacy. By parents doing this, it will just distance their child from them since there is no trust.
In Rosen’s article, she mentions a contributor reporting, “you constantly see people taking their little pets out and stroking the scroll wheel, coddling them, basically “petting’ them.” We see that everywhere, but is that so bad? I don’t think so. A cell phone is a gateway for people to communicate with the outside world. If that requires "petting" and "coddling", then so be it. They're not doing anything wrong.
Cell phones are known to be the culprit behind car accidents. Seeing as people use them while driving. Either texting or talking, they aren't paying full attention to the road. In a peer reviewed article called The Impact of Cell Phones On Motor Vehicle Fatalities, Consiglio et al found that "both hand-held and hand-free devices resulted in a reduction in reaction time in a braking situation. They also found that conversation both in-person or via a cell phone caused reaction time to slow while listening to music did not. As such, there is evidence suggesting that cell phones may have both life-saving as well as life-taking attributes." Conseglio et al makes perfect sense in saying that a phone can either save a life or be the cause of a death, but is it really the phone's fault or the person's? Laws were made against phone usage while driving for this exact reason. That is why it is required for all drivers to use hands-free-technology when talking on the cell phone. It's a person's choice to break the law.
Of course like a gun or any other useful tool, a cell phone can be used for malicious reasons, as Rosen tells us in her article under Communication Delinquents. Rosen claims hearing someone talk about their "shag phone." A phone specifically used to secretly communicate with the person he/she is having an affair with. Phones are used for evil deeds all the time. They're used for drug dealing, human trafficking, even terrorism, all bad things, but that's just how things work. There are also good people out there that use phones as a necessity to save lives. There is also us, the everyday, average Joe, just using their phone to get through life much easier. When something great is made, there will be people that will use it for evil. Not everyone is the same.
People always complain about other people and their annoying conversations on their phone. Rosen explains it to us in her article under Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, on how annoying people can be on their cell phones. As Cooper says in his article, The Mutable Mobile: Social Theory in the Wireless World, “With cell phones certain kinds of public space have been intruded. As a result, the distinction between private and public has been blurred. People in public space are now unexpectedly exposed to one side of a two-party private interaction, which can be frustrating with speculations about the missing side of the interaction.” Although it's true, nobody wants to hear you babbling about how much money you owe your landlord, we just have to deal with it. I do believe it is rude to talk on the phone in public, but not to a certain extent where I would pepper spray or ram a person with my vehicle. I think Rosen simply exaggerated a bit. People should take the public into consideration when talking on their cell phone. Find a nice quiet spot, away from other people so you will not bother them, or a simple text message would suffice.
There are appropriate and inappropriate places to answer the phone. Is answering the phone that important to you? Consider this the next time you want to answer your phone in public. "Is this the appropriate place to talk?" "Can I can call that person back later?" If everyone considered this before answering their phone, the world would be a little happier, or at least Rosen would. I too have experienced the rudeness of a loud phone, probably just like everyone else. Maybe once you were the cause. In school, in the theaters, even at church. Not even the "silent" setting on your phone is good enough since the annoying vibration is still loud enough to interrupt whatever is going on. Be a team player and just turn off your phone. It's that simple.
Cell phones in a way are a wonder to this world. They allow us to communicate with other people from almost anywhere to a great distance. Rosen says that, “cell phones have become everyday wonders – as unremarkable to us as the Great Wall is to those who see it everyday.” Even though I do agree with her there, that should not stop us from using these mobile devices, because in the end they save lives and make everyday life a lot easier.
Rosen tells us that cell phones should be treated as we treat cigarette smoking today. Have designated areas where people can freely use their cell phones and only in those areas, nowhere else. Yale University does not allow cell phones in some of its libraries. Amtrak’s introduction to “quiet cars” allows for people to enjoy a quiet ride. People are actually doing something about these exasperating habits of people having annoying conversations on their phones in public.
What the book does not cover though is the ability to send instant messages to another person. Technology has changed quite a bit since 2004. Now with phone services allowing a person to send instant text messages rather than having to call that person and disturb the public. People can converse through just typing rather than with actual speech. Not only can people text and call, they can surf the internet, check the news, calculate since a cell phone now a days is a calculator, flashlight, camera, music player, clock, and much more. Cell phones are kind of like Swiss army knives; they have many uses. That is why so many people can't get off them. Either when they are walking along the sidewalk or even while driving in their vehicle, they are addicted to them. Should we blame them? I don't think so. People are on their cell phones so much because their cell phones are like a part of their self. It's like communicating telepathically, but not really. It's an awesome way of communicating with someone privately 1 on 1.
Mobile phones were meant to be made ever since the first phone was made. In the review by James David Sociology, he tells us that mobile phones are both technological and social in nature. He says, "themes explored include the mobile phone itself, patterns of phone use, presentational and symbolic aspects of the mobile phone, mobile phones and document use in the workplace, the culture of mobile phones, social change, individualization, social structure, and implications for relations in public." Every aspect of a phone should be considered before a person judges whether a phone is good or bad.
Cell phones are just another way for a person to communicate with you. When a person calls you, do you feel obligated to answer? The thing about phones is that when you answer, you engage in listen/talk mode and you have to converse with the person on the other line, not literally of course. You can hang up at any time, or just not answer, but if you do, then it's their way of sort of having a hold on you to talk. You in a way feel obligated to converse with them.
Honestly, I believe Rosen is just looking for anything against the use of cell phones. All these "problems" cell phones are causing really aren't that bad. An annoying person on their phone in public? Ignore them. Car accidents due to people using their phones while driving? It's their fault for using their phone while driving. They made their choice, not a wise one. Cell phones have revolutionized the way the world works allowing us to do so much more. We have progressed so much ever since the first cell phone was made. There are way more pros than cons for cell phones. I bet if Rosen made an article on the benefits to owning a cell phone, she'd end up making a whole book since there is so much good to say about these mobile devices. From making our everyday lives easier to saving a person's life by calling for help, a cell phone is your friend, not your enemy.
1. Rosen, Christine. Our Cell Phones, Ourselves. By: Rossenwasser, David & Stephen, Jill. Writing Analytically with Readings: Technology and Society Publishing
2. G Cooper The Mutable Mobile: Social Theory In the Wireless World B Brown, N Green, R Harper (Eds.), Wireless World: Social and Interactional Aspects of the Mobile Age, Springer, New York (2002), pp. 19–31
3. Loeb, Peter, William Clarke, and Richard Anderson. "The Impact of Cell Phones on Motor Vehicle Fatalities." Applied Economics, 41.22 (2009): 2905-2914.
4. James, David D Sociology, volume 38 issue 1 (2004), pages 203-206 Barry Brown, Nicola Green and Richard Harper (eds) Wireless World: Social and Interactional Aspects of the Mobile Age London: Springer, 2002