Cell Phones: Friend Or Foe?

Cell Phones: Friend Or Foe?
The effects of technology on society will always be a double edged sword. The debate is a never ending one, in which both sides have valid and compelling arguments. The Industrial Revolution reduced manual labor in the long run, but had negative consequences such as child labor and sweatshop conditions. Nuclear Power reduces the cost of producing energy, but raises serious environmental issues like pollution and radiation. In this day in age refusing to assimilate to at least some form of modern living is simply not an option. One invention causing controversy today that has yet to cease being alter, modified, and ?improved? since its debut is the ever present cell phone.
Even as I sit here typing this paper, my own shiny, rectangular piece of molded plastic and metal lies inches away from my fingertips, beckoning me to use it. Looking out the window, one of the first sights I see are people walking with one hand up to their ear, evidence this technology is in use. I can count on one hand the number of adults I know who do not own one these mobile devices. People are now able to be virtually accessible almost anywhere at any time.
So where does the dispute come in? Consider the fact that these wondrous inventions which allow us to stay connected to our family, friends, and co-workers also have mounting allegations against them as being the cause of

less interaction with people in our day to day lives. There are countless lists on the pros and cons of owning a cell phone. It becomes easier to understand why such a blurry line divides the two sides when you realize that you are dealing with a device that has been called ?life saving? in an emergency, while at the same time being the very component responsible for causing it.
Cell phones have been cited as a main reason for car accidents which lead to the death of more than forty-two thousand people in the U.S. alone every year. The issue of driving while talking on a cell phone has become serious enough that five states have passed laws prohibiting this type of act and making it a primary offense to do so. Not only are drivers talking behind the wheel, but many have admitted to engaging in even more potentially dangerous behavior with their phones such as text messaging and surfing the internet. A distracted driver is a dangerous one. If you are focused on a conversation and your eyes are not on the road, drivers cannot be expected to make a quick and safe decision should the need for one arise. The behavior of a driver while using a cell phone has been compared to that of one driving while under the influence. Studies have shown that those who use a cell phone while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who don?t.
On the flip side, it is very reassuring to know as you are driving down the highway that if you were to get a flat tire or your engine were to overheat you could flip open that gadget in the cup holder next to you and have a plan b on the way. Cell phones have also been used to make calls in more serious life and
death situations where immediate help is needed. Obviously, having a cell phone in your car within reach is much better when the seconds count than finding the nearest land line.
One of the earliest complaints of cell phones was the disturbances they caused in public places such as the airport, a restaurant, or the grocery store. We?ve all been witness to the embarrassment of a stranger when a silent room is interrupted by the untimely melody of Britney Spear?s latest song ringing in their pocket; or been subject to the guy on the subway who thinks everyone wants to know what happened at his job today. Movie Theaters now have clips dedicated solely to reminding audience members to silence their phones. These are things that were once common courtesy and didn?t need reminding.
It is easier for someone who grew up in a previous generation to notice the real effects of cell phones on society. Almost all kids today have grown up around this technology and many are using it at younger ages. Cell phones appear to have replaced the need for everyday items such as alarm clocks, calendars, and watches. They also have taken place of our memory in several instances. Many people, including myself, no longer find it necessary to memorize phone numbers since they can quickly be obtained by scrolling through our cell phone, which is sure to be with us. Important upcoming dates can be programmed into our phones, complete with a reminder that will ensure we don?t miss an event. The thought here seems to be the more information you can access from the same source, the simpler life becomes.

It seems like almost everyday a new feature is being added to this handheld device. They can now do everything from take a picture or a video, to allowing access to you?re e-mail, to playing your favorite downloaded songs. They are virtually mini telephones, digital cameras, laptops, and ipods in one. That amount of technology in such a compact space is truly astounding. It?s unfortunate to think cell phones are just becoming, if they have not already, another ?status symbol? indicating where you rank on the ladder of what our culture deems ?in?.
It is impossible to deny that cell phones have become increasingly important in the business world of today. They are a great way to keep in touch and be reminded of daily events. Still, it is necessary to remember that they have their time and place. Your life is not the only one at stake when you get behind the wheel and common courtesy should still remain a highly regarded value. Maybe it is because cell phones have interfered with the need to exercise our memory, but we seem to have forgotten it was once possible to survive without them.

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