Mobile or cell phones have revolutionized our lives since many years. In past people had to wait for days or even weeks to get reply to their letters. Then with time and technological advancements things started getting easier with the invention of telephone and then finally it got a lot easier with the introduction of cell phones. Cell phones provide us the opportunity to converse, figure out and access content. Mobile phones have redefined connectivity and communication. But high-end mobile phones have also turned out to be handy devices for criminals, anti-social elements and even activists. Mobile phones have their uses and misuses.
Uses: The ability to talk wirelessly and all across the world is one of the major uses of cell phones. Cell phones have surfaced as the main communication gadgets for millions of countryside, distant and undersized areas in many developing countries where it is quite hard to build widespread fixed-line as well as other landline phone infrastructures. One can use cell phones in many disaster circumstances and emergencies to get helpful and apt help. Some of the mobile phones have special features like maps etc. If you are new somewhere and have lost your way you can get help using your cell phone. There are number of applications like calculator, torch, calendar etc in almost every cell phone. One can get help from these applications whenever needed. You can call or chat with your friends or family members for hours with the introduction of a number of worthy packages for you to avail. Thus by spending less money you can talk for longer time period. These packages are worthy enough as compared to wired or landline phone charges.
Misuses: On one side if cell phones are the best sources to get instant help in the hour of need there are some drawbacks of this gadget. It is a fact that parents allow their kids use mobile phones at an early age. But it is only to make sure about their safety and security which is needed since we live in an unsecured society. However, unfortunately many times it has been observed that these children do not make use of it in a proper manner. They spend hours talking to their friends, not for good purposes but to gossip and thus waste their time.
They prefer indoor games like those in the mobiles rather than the outdoor games. This can impact negatively on their minds physical fitness. The law made by the governments of many countries was much appreciated by a large number of people according to which it is restricted to the children to buy a SIM card until they reach the age of eighteen. Majority of parents are thankful to their government for taking this effective step.
Some of the common misuses of mobile phones are cameras loaded on majority of mobile phones can be used to take pictures of women and innocent children; these pictures are then usually morphed, maneuvered and circulated on the Internet and can be used for any negative purpose. Texting can also be used to misuse or track people. Cell phones have been known to be used by corrupt elements, burglars and criminals can plan out a number of criminal schemes, scamming plans and other illegal activities.
Thus cell phones if on one side a blessing then on the other side they can create disasters in our lives and society. It is advisable to make use of mobile phones for positive and useful purposes and not for negative activities.
What is amazing is the extensive use of the mobile/cellphone all over the world. A report suggests that 1,000 new users are being added every minute globally. We in India have an impressive growth rate. It is claimed that about 4 million subscribers jump on the mobile users' bandwagon every month.
Flaunting a mobile telephone is no longer a status symbol. The ubiquitous shiny device has been lapped up by practically every member of our society, cutting across religion, caste, gender and income groups — domestic help, hawkers, plumbers, doctors, homemakers, teachers, students, journalists, engineers, lawyers, et al.
For some users, there is no life without a mobile phone. They take it wherever they go, including the morning or evening constitutional. During a train or bus journey, one encounters chatters of various phone users. Ringing tones, with options such as the call of a cuckoo or the cry of a baby, and other bizarre tones, could be very disturbing.
For a few mobile users, “Time is money” and they would like to use a mobile phone to make that extra buck. We encountered a doctor who, while examining a patient, got a call on his cell. Without even uttering an excuse, he went out for another consultation, while the patient was cooling her heels in the doctor's chair, only to return after an hour. Sometimes, the mobile users are so grossly engrossed in their talk that they forget the world, much to the annoyance of those who are around them. Such (ill) ‘manners' are certainly annoying, to say the least. Though there are regulations about the restrictions on the use of cellphones in banks, public offices, concerts and others places, these are followed more in the breach than the observance.
There is some concern at the radiation and other effects on human beings with prolonged use of mobile phones, especially by young children. There is a code of conduct in the advanced countries that advertisements for mobile phones do not target children. No such code appears to be in place in our country's industry. The government too has kept its hands off this controversy. However, it would be advisable that children do not use mobile phones for too long.
Those who use gadgets, with all sorts of the latest technology, could easily surf the Internet that contains information and websites not in the interest of children. Also, traffic rules prohibit the use of mobile cell phones while driving. Again, due to the indifferent enforcement of the rule, drivers are exposing themselves as well as others to danger. The long-term ill-effects of using the fingers for prolonged SMS should be kept in mind.
Like any technological invention, the mobile phone has its uses and misuses. No one can deny the fact that a mobile phone is exactly what the doctor ordered in an emergency. The ability to connect with anyone anywhere with a cellphone 24x7 is remarkable. Of late, the mobile phone has come into the limelight and it is being put to use for illegal operations — terrorist attacks, extortions, kidnapping and sex and drug rackets.
There has to be a code of conduct for the use of cellphone that has almost become part of a person's daily life these days. Proliferation of mobile phone use cannot be prevented when the gadget is becoming cheaper and coming with more and more added features while the costs are coming down year after year. Moreover, the service providers are bending over backwards to woo more customers and retain the existing ones. They are offering services, which are ‘irresistible'.
Obsolescence and with that the problem of waste management of old and discarded handsets are issues that need to be tackled urgently. The service providers should be made to ‘buy back' old sets for recycling.
While the technology of cellphones is improving regularly, we need to inculcate in the users a sense of responsibility. Children and teenagers should be advised by parents and teachers to use the mobile sparingly.
It is no more a fashion to go on SMS for thrills to friends. A stricter check with verification of the personal details of the persons who apply for cell phones should be done before issuing a pre-paid or post-paid mobile connection. In case of any crime connected with the mobile users, the service providers should volunteer to cooperate with the law enforcement authorities to help in nabbing the culprits.
(The writer's email ID is: email@example.com)