Technology is one of the most powerful factors that affect our daily life and routine. As part of it we have the well known and worldwide used: Cell-phones. A 2004 MIT survey said that cell phones were ranked as the one invention that people hate the most, but cannot live without. It beat out the alarm clock and the television. Cell-phones have become one of the most useful devices around the world; however, they have drastically and negatively affected our communication and privacy manners. In addition, they have created an incredible amount of mortal accidents around the world due to distracted drivers.
Driving Accidents issues
As a first issue regarding this remarkable invention we find the famous: texting while driving. Victoria police Const. Ryan Wilson, a member of the traffic division who chairs the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee, cited a case a few years ago where a woman was killed in what was believed to be a case of texting while driving. Police sought court orders to get her phone records, which showed that she was indeed texting at the time of the crash (Jeff Bell 1). It is almost impossible to keep your eyes focused on the road while giving attention to the screen of your cell phone. It makes your sight go off the street entirely for a couple of seconds, when anything mortal can happen.
Apart from texting it is common for many people to call while hands are on the wheels. But, is it considered as dangerous as texting? The study, by University of Utah researchers, adds to a growing body of evidence that conversing by phone while behind the wheel can be hazardous. Talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk, new federally funded research shows (Jeff Bell 1). Despite the fact that everybody drives with one hand on the wheel, the process of our brain focusing on the conversation limits our capacity to respond properly to any minimal situation on the street. A 2005 study published in the British Medical Journal looked at crash data for 456 cell phone subscribers in Perth, Australia, who had an auto accident that required medical attention. The study, which essentially confirmed a similar 1997 study conducted in Toronto, concluded that drivers talking on their phones were about four times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who were not on the phone.
Another highly publicized 2006 study from the University of Utah concluded that drivers who talked on cell phones were as impaired as drivers who were intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08. The study, however, found that using hands-free devices did little to improve drivers’ performances (Nancy McVicar 1). The use of them has been so far the best and only solution that diminish the risk of a mortal worldwide issue. It is not deniable that cell phones have caused several traffic deaths and injuries. As a matter of fact, either calling or texting while driving is among the most dangerous activity around the world.
Despite some studies have shown that hands-free devices reduces the risk, they do not entirely finish with the problem. Frank Drews, one of the Utah researchers who has published earlier studies showing drivers on the phone are at higher risk of accidents, stated: “We have shown in previous studies there is no difference between hand-held and hands-free. There is a more dangerous component when people are dialing the phone or searching for the cell phone in the briefcase on the seat beside them, but what distracts people when talking on a cell phone is the conversation, not holding the phone (Nancy McVicar 1). People need to star being conscious and profit technology for our benefit not for our death.
In another subject, cell phones have revolutionarily transformed our way to communicate to other people. We used to be anxious to see our friends, our family, our partner etc. However, people are so attached to their devices that even the most important and delicate conversation is spoken by phone. “And more than anything, we are discovering just how far and wide mind and body can be separated, because now we can be where we aren’t, no matter where we are,” said Martin Miller, a reporter from Los Angeles Times (Martin Miller 1). Despite the fact that cell phones clearly make our long relationships easier they completely destroy our closer ones. John Petersen, founder and president of the Arlington Institute, a future-oriented think tank in Arlington, Virginia. “What it is done is to change our view of reality. You remember not so long ago when making a long-distance phone call was a big deal? You would say, ‘I’m calling long distance,’ and you were supposed to drop everything? Now it is not a big deal anymore to get a call from anywhere on the globe” (Martin Miller 1). So, in fact not only our communication with close people is being jeopardized but the long distance treatment is also being affected.
It is so easy to make long distances phone calls that we have stopped doing them. In spite of becoming every time easier to do them, we loose motivation and intrigue, which lead us to hesitate about the call and leave it for another moment. Besides the effect that cell phones has on any long and short relationship, there is a more concerning issue regarding communication, the face-to-face conversation. Cell phones are also reshaping our social habits and attitudes, say sociologists. According to Martin Miller, the portable phones, depending on their usage, can by turns be a shield against loneliness or create isolation. This would be the case when you cannot really focus on what you are doing, or what are you talking about due to the distraction that this portables create in us. Michael Zey, a sociologist at Montclair State University in New Jersey said: “They can reduce the need to create bridges. It allows people to exclude the people who may be in front of them and to interact with people they already know who are someplace else” (Martin Miller 2).
We have become so dependant on these devices that they have created an inner necessity to be in touch at any time with family and friends. Even though this might sound as a good thing, it is not. People are not calling other people constantly with little regard to the content of the conversation. A recent three-panel cartoon in the New Yorker jokes around with some cell phone users apparent need to always be on the phone. The first panel shows a businessman entering a train talking on a cell phone with the caption, “I’m boarding the train.” In the next, which shows the man on the train, he says, “I’m on the train.” And in the last one, showing the cell phone user leaving, he says: “I’m leaving the train (Martin Miller 2). The urge of having knowledge of everything that someone else is doing is slowly killing our general communication with the outside world.
“I think people have become more dependent on being in constant touch with others,” said Edward Tenner, author of the 1997 book “Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences” (Martin Miller 2). In general cell phones have changed negatively our close and far relationships. In addition, our face-to-face communication has also been drastically affected. In all of the cases they interrupt any situation happening at the moment and move your head to a whole other situation in another place. “Cell phones and what is coming is what is driving globalization,” says Petersen, a former staff member of the National Security Council at the Reagan White House. He cited: “I think what we’re seeing is an almost biological evolution of the species. I think we’re building a global nervous system and brain” (Martin Miller 3).
Moving to our last but not least issue about cell-phones, we have a worldwide lost of privacy because of these modern devices. “Technology has just exploded. It’s so sophisticated now and it’s very easy to utilize these different technologies to keep tabs on a person and find out where they’re going,” said Gina Pfund, chief assistant prosecutor of the Domestic Violence Unit in Passaic County (Hannan Adely 1). How easy is to take your partner’s cell-phone and scroll down the text messages, e-mails and personal contacts? This has become a habit for many people. Although it is extremely convenient to have all your information, addresses, pictures, among others inside one little piece of metal, it is extremely dangerous to have your intimate life registered in something that anybody can take and see. Therefore, people are not only searching into their partner cell phones but also buying small artifacts that can record and play back all you do with your phone.
Hannan Adely from New Jersey Media Group Inc said: “The person watching or listening is often a family member and frequently a suspicious or controlling partner. They have scanned Facebook pages, viewed online web-browsing histories, and examined cell phone records for proof. But some take it a step further, planting spyware on smart phones and computers” (Gary Marx 1). Now our problems are not only cell phone but also the accessories that have been created for them. Even though Richard Drobnick, director of the Teaneck-based Mars & Venus Counseling Center, said some forms of prying can be justified because “people need to know the truth,” this new invention is more seen as a tragedy than a relieve. “All of the above examples of information collection are perfectly legal.
But the most troubling aspect of the problem for privacy advocates is that in many cases consumers don’t immediately recognize these actions as invasions of privacy,” said Gary T. Marx, a Californian lawyer (Gary Marx 1). He also empathized: “They might have a vague concern over certain technologies, but consumers often don’t understand how technology is being used to gather, analyze, and distribute data. Even among more insightful users there is great disagreement about how to view new technologies, and consequently there is disagreement on what constitutes misuse” (Gary Marx 1). Despite the ignorance that the world is having by thinking that lost of privacy because of cell phones is not an issue, our standard of conduct must go beyond what is legal if privacy as we know it is going to be maintained.
In conclusion, cell phones might be considered as one of the most demanding device in our society; however, the negative side of them is enormous. Mortal accidents, lost of communication and lost of privacy are concerning problems that people should be conscious of. Although some people are aware of the situation, the necessity to use cell phones is bigger than our rational mind. “So one explanation for our result is that cell phones may be dangerous,” stated Saurabh Bhargava, professor of University of Chicago economics (Walberg Matthew 2). They certainly are more dangerous than people think. If we continue to use portable phones the wrong way, death statistics will keep raising as well as our personal relationships will keep ending. Be a part of the future, not a problem to it!
Adely, Hannan. “Cellphone Spying Getting Easier for Abusers, Stalkers.” The Record. 02 Jan 2012: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 25 Nov 2012.
Bell, Jeff. “Distracted Driving Blamed for Growing Number of Traffic Deaths.” Times- Colonist. 29 Aug 2012: A.3. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 12 Nov 2012. Marx, Gary T. “Privacy Lost.” California Lawyer. Jan. 1999: 48+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 25 Nov 2012.
McVicar, Nancy. “Study: Calling While Driving As Dangerous As Driving Drunk.”
Sun- Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). 29 Jun 2006: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 13 Nov 2012. Miller, Martin. “Withdrawing into Our Cells.” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA). Sept. 19 2002: E1+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Nov 2012. Walberg, Matthew. “Is Driving, Using a Cellphone As Bad As Thought?.” Chicago Tribune. 26 Mar 2012: 1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 12 Nov 2012.
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