The impact of cell phones on modern society is one that could be compared to the impact of the wheel or the printing press. Cell phones have made the world an infinitely more connected place, but that does not come without drawbacks. Offering access to (quite literally speaking) the world at one’s fingertips, cell phones may be the root of many issues society is currently facing.
This paper will examine different issues that cell phones cause on a community, local, national, regional, international, and global level.
Ozark epitomizes the stereotype of small-town America. With just over 19,000 residents, Ozark is full of kind faces and close-knit community; however, the introduction of cell phones may be changing that. According to research from Brigham Young University, “Technology use has proliferated in family life; everyday intrusions and interruptions due to technology devices, which we term ‘technoference,’ will likely occur” (McDaniel & Coyne). Recently there’s been a shift away from face to face conversation and towards conversation via text.
One would be hard pressed to find a young person in Ozark who does not own a cell phone, and unsurprisingly interpersonal communication skills have decreased significantly since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. The Midwest region of the United States may be labeled as backward and technologically behind by some, but of the 6.114 million Missourians, 83% of them own a smartphone (APA). Cell phones have caused a widening generation gap due to the disconnect between young people who easily navigate smartphones and use them hours daily and the older population who cannot operate a cellular device without help.
Millennials converse almost entirely through social media and text messaging, whereas baby boomers are uncomfortable using the newfound gadgets. This has caused tension between the two generations, as they value different forms of communication. 96% of people in the United States own a cell phone. Two-thirds of Americans get their daily news solely from social media (Shearer). With these statistics, it is easy to understand why people are often misinformed. With Americans so polarized due to contrasting political and religious views, one’s social media feed is full of news articles that only match his or her own beliefs. This can cause close-mindedness that obstructs the view of truth. The region of the Americas, separated by North and South, differ greatly looking objectively from an economic standpoint. Cell phones heighten socioeconomic tension by making it incredibly difficult to stay informed, educated, and connected without access to a mobile device. The gross domestic product (GDP) of North America is 22,290, whereas South America’s is less than a fifth of that at 3,940 (UN Statistics). Predictably the number of cell phones in each continent contrasts significantly as well. Without access to cell phones, people who live in South America are at a major disadvantage as cell phones are used for business and trade. One of the main benefits of cell phones is that they connect people internationally, but is society truly connected? The introduction of the cell phone also introduced the concept of cyberbullying. Over half of teens aged 13-17 have been a victim of cyberbullying, and more than 80% of young people own a cell phone making it the most common medium through which cyberbullying is perpetrated (Bullying Statistics). With cell phone’s global prevalence, health concerns have risen. As cell phones are relatively new (the first one was made in 1991) more longitudinal studies are needed to come to a verdict on the long term health risks.
Eye doctors are having to perform an unprecedented number of cataract surgeries on 4 and 5-year-old children whose eyes have been damaged from the blue light from screens. Cell phones emit radioactive waves which could also be potentially harmful. Only time will tell all the health problems cell phones can cause. Though cell phones have many advantages, they also generate several complications that affect everywhere from a local to a global level. Connection issues, widening generation gaps, misinformation via social media, increased socioeconomic tensions, cyberbullying, and probable health ramifications only scratch the surface of cell phones’ immense impact.