Nowadays mobile phones are everywhere: their bleeping ringtones go off behind you in the train; gormless-looking zombies stand around on the street “texting” illiterate messages to each other, while even children see them as an indispensable accessory. Clearly, mobile phones have come to be a normal and accepted part of most people’s lives, but does this necessarily mean they are a boon? I would say that while mobiles are potentially helpful in some situations, they generally have an adverse effect on one’s quality of life.
The strongest argument for owning a mobile phone is that it can prove useful in an emergency or make you feel secure when walking down a dark street, for example. However, you should not forget that mobiles actually cause emergencies when people drive and talk simultaneously, and get into accidents. Furthermore, mobiles are one of the items muggers are most interested in, which means that carrying a mobile actually increases your chances of being attacked.
On the face of things, mobiles make life more convenient. They allow you to be much more flexible or spontaneous when making arrangements with friends, so that you can ring ahead, for example, if your train has come to a standstill. They also mean that you can stay in touch with work colleagues even when you are travelling and do not have access to a landline. There is a flipside to these arguments though. If people can be more spontaneous then they are more likely to wriggle out of arrangements, or let others know at the last minute, which can be far from convenient. Moreover, if you are always contactable, particularly by people from work, then you are enslaved in a sense. Employers are able to encroach on your leisure time and make demands of you, wherever you happen to be.
Mobile phones are also anti-social in some ways, and encourage unpleasant behaviour. We have all heard the loud salespeople on trains boasting about their latest deal, or passengers who broadcast the finer details of their tedious social life. Equally rude are friends who start texting someone else while you are in the middle of a conversation with them.