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Phones and Society: The Relationship

Over the years, various spheres of the society have experienced improvement in technology. There has been a continued application of practical knowledge from generation to generation especially in the field of communication technology. Communication technology evolution initiated in1876 with the introduction of the telephone by Alexander Graham. At that moment its usage was limited due to its complexity. They were mostly used for entertainment until banks adopted them as means of quickly passing information from one officer to the other through free phone installation. As technology gradually advanced, metallic circuits were invented. These circuits made distance calls possible and increased the use of the telephone. In the late 1890s technology allowed the cost of a line to be split through development of party lines. Before the development of technology that facilitated the express dial system in 1891, calls were directed and controlled in a central place with the assistance of the exchange operators. It was in 1927 that the first radio call was made. This was enabled by the discovery of the radio waves which enabled its transmission. Further advancement in phone technology resulted to the invention of the first telephone satellite by TelStar1 in 1962. This invention revolutionized phone communication to greater heights. The first cellular telephone that used satellites was invented in 1973 by Dr. Martin Cooper.It was referred to as Dyna-Tac. This was a portable handset. The cellular phone was found successful after several test run. These phones were first sold in New York. The cellular technology industry was founded in1988 to formulate guidelines that were required to regulate mobile phone service providers and spearhead the progress and monitor the mobile phone industry. With only slightly over thirty years of cellular mobile phones commercial service availability there were more than 1.52 billion mobile phone users in the world by 2003 (Roberts, 2004, pp. 11-19).

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The invention and subsequent growth in mobile technology has greatly influenced the way people communicate, work, and carry out daily business activities and their mode of living. The widespread use of mobile technology has affected the social and economic aspects of a society both positively and negatively. On the positive aspect, mobile phones are widely used in communication. They have made it possible for someone to make phone calls wherever one is and at any time. People are able to communicate with each other over long distances, thereby overcoming the limitation of geographical mobility and time. If the person making the conversation cannot do so directly with the other party, the mobile phone technology offers various alternatives to make sure that the massage passes through to the intended recipient. This can be done through sending of text message through the use of small message service (SMS), leave a voice mail or by use of voice and picture messages. In case of an emergency or when someone is in a dilemma, he/she can get assistance by simply calling for help. Using of a cell phone in communication is far much convenient than use of a pay phone as you do not have to carry coins all the times as well as wasting time making a call. Cell phones have in-built features such as calendars and note pad. A holder of a mobile phone can use it for appointment, event reminder and also for keeping short notes. It can further be used to access an email, search phone numbers in directories and assist in research work (Farley, 2000, pp. 259-263).

Mobile phone technology has totally revolutionized security management in society. Parents are now able to access the security of their children. Use of mobile phone technology has made it possible for parents to monitor the movement of their children and know their whereabouts as well as expelling fear the children might have on their parents when they are away from home. This has eased tension and increased communication to both the parent and the child who are geographically far apart. The ease of communication has reduced the need for worthless restrictions or anxiety by parents to their children’s movements. Cell phones have increased the general security of the society. Cases of theft and burglary have gone down with acquisition of phones by many people. It is possible to contact security agents immediately before thieves brake into a house. Mobile phones have special features that allow phone sharing. They can allow a group of friends or a family to share one or more mobile phones among them. This may happen either through conspicuous or stealthy sharing. Conspicuous sharing occurs where a person calls on behalf of another person whom the latter wants to reach with the hope of communicating with that person. On the other hand, stealthy sharing occurs when a person uses another person’s mobile phone without their knowledge. The sharing may be due to traditions and beliefs as well as economic benefits achieved. In some African societies, phone sharing is done at village levels in communicating important messages, for security purposes and to keep up with the globalizing world expectations (Odell, 2005, pp.96-99).

Despite the advantages the mobile phones have in society, nonetheless, there are negative effects in the society that accrue as a result of their widespread use. Unrestricted use of cell phones has been identified as one of great sources of death among members of the society. A lot of accidents on our roads have been brought about by use of mobile phones while driving. Reckless drivers are usually distracted while making a call through their cell phones or through taking calls. A driver who uses mobile phone while driving is likely to cause an accident three to four times more than the driver without a phone. Mobile phones have a negative impact on the youth. The youth have been addicted and lacks self-control on usage of the phones. This has increased theft cases by the youth in order to obtain a mobile phone. Their use has been restricted in various social places due to their destructive effects. They have been restricted in school as they interfere and lower student concentration in academic affairs as well as being an effective tool in cheating of exams. Addiction in the use of mobile phones has degraded the behaviour of people in the society. They become inconsiderate of other peoples welfare while on their phones in public. They misbehave in various ways such as distracting a movie and bumping into others due to lack of concentration on their movements. All these vices bring about distraction and disrespectful behaviours in the society. Studies have shown that prolonged and increased use of cell phones can harm some one’s health. Due to the microwave radiation emitted by mobile phones, their prolonged use can cause diseases such as brain tumour 2and cancer. Mobile phones are hand-held devices that are capable of harbouring bacteria that can cause illness especially to vulnerable people such as healthcare workers. Most obsolete mobile phones are not recycled and therefore materials that make them such as metal and glass can cause injuries especially to young children. They also release toxins such as lead and arsenic into the soil causing reduction of its fertility and causing pollution all together (Glotz, Bertschi, & Locke, 2005, pp. 67-80).

Reference List

Farley, T. (2000). Mobile Phone History, Affordable Phones by Phone Warehouse. Web.

Glotz, P., Bertschi, S. & Locke, C. (2005). Thumb Culture: The Meaning of Mobile Phones for Society, Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 296 pp.67-80.

Odell, M. (2005). Use of mobile helped police keep tabs on suspect. Financial Times. Web.

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Roberts, L. P. (2004). History of the Telephone — from Bell to VoIP and Beyond. Web.

Footnotes

  1. TelStar is a joint mobile company by both Bell and NASA
  2. Brain tumour is a brain disorder that result to uncontrolled growth of cells

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