Books Reviews

Mobile Phones: Are they a Bane or a Blessing?

By: Indunil Madhusankha


It is a singularly striking fact that modern man is in a whirlwind of technological wonders and innovations with a never ending zeal for enhancing the comforts of his living. At a time when the world is charged with what might be termed an ‘industrial revolution’, there is, in the present context, a ceaseless process of technological developments and reinforcements which has resulted in the emergence of miscellaneous new inventions that take us to a world of wonders. This very flux of scientific knowledge bears ample testimony to the fact that the man in today’s world has proved to be unprecedentedly successful in pushing back the frontiers of science. Mobile phone can simply be explained as one of the most compelling and influential inventions which the prodigiously gifted technologists have bestowed on us, and it bears a distinct stamp in the annals of the history of scientific advancements. Cell phones are, of course, a miracle and in the eyes of some people, they are a god given gift and a golden chain by which the society is bound together. It is crystal clear that at present, the mobile phone, fondly called the ‘cellular’ or ‘mobile’, has already scanned the earth at jet speed thereby opening the door to a new dimension in the sphere of worldwide communication.

Just as the well-known saying, necessity is the mother of creation clearly brings to our limelight, the cell phone is a consequence of the present day societal circumstances in which life is found to be far more complicated for modern man than for his predecessors in the past. Here, it will be quite an anathema, if some words are not devoted to remind the gold-inscribed name of Alexander Graham Bell who is the father of the telephone and hence perhaps of the mobile phone because the knowledge required to achieve this tremendous feat can undeniably be said to have been partially borrowed from the technology of telephones. It is obvious that with the introduction of the mobile phone, the realm of communication has witnessed a revolutionary change. There is, indeed, one very important and conspicuous distinction between the telephone and the mobile phone. That is, the mobile phone is portable while the telephone is not. Thanks to this portability, man has received the ability to carry the cell phone, unlike the land phone, with him wherever he goes and contact anybody whenever he needs. Also, it is a quite incontestable fact that the mobile phone has been playing a leading role in uniting the world into what we may call the ‘global village’ because all the human beings have been brought together by this fascinating device by virtue of their verbal vicinity to each other.

The ever increasing popularity of the mobile phone is vouched for by the fact that a majority of the people even in underdeveloped countries have demonstrated a thorough addiction to this miraculous object. Also, in order to emphasize the wide spread use of the mobile phone, some people say, “Ah, even the beggar has a mobile today”. Further, hand phones are available in the market in a variety of brands, hues, sizes and prices, and day by day, this handy little guy gets fledged with different fascinating features. It is important to note that apart from the capability for making calls and sending short messages, a lot of other vital facilities such as multimedia features, the ability to video, record and photograph, and access to internet are also possible through mobile phones. It is really heartening that the latest cell phones, known as smart phones, are working as mini computers with miscellaneous applications that are designed to make the life of their users easier than ever before. These applications, simply called apps, are enormous in numbers and provide the users with numerous services ranging from reading barcodes to preparing presentations. It can, therefore, be perceived that the contribution made by the mobile phone to the spread and enrichment of information and communication technology is of paramount significance. Also, with ample access to the internet through mobile phones, they are widely regarded as a bank of information which is very vital for the present society.

As a result of the rapidly flourishing technological inventions, mobile phones incessantly get equipped with innovative facilities that vastly add to the popularity and usefulness of these devices. In banks, colleges, super markets, public places, and on our way to wherever we go, it has become the commonest scene that people, both young and adult, are engrossed with the screen of cell phones or are having amusing chats with their fellows through these phones. The mobile phone is the device that most people spend hours and hours with. It is hence almost undisputable that this beautiful tool has become an inseparable companion of mankind in the present world. Thus there may be no debate in proclaiming that the mobile phone is the invention of the century.

Despite the immeasurable influence that the cell phone has on the contemporary society, it is not to be denied that this remarkable object of interest is also giving so many vents to the growth of a heap of despicable and detrimental retributions. The burgeoning glory of the affluence, the subtle shades of diverse paraphernalia and the hollow beauty of the world today, appear to clear the track for a load of telling results that confront the society with various burning and degrading issues. The impact of mobile phones on a person’s health has recently been found to be adverse and deteriorating. Scientists argue that the energy waves emitted from these phones are likely to increase the risk of brain tumors and some other types of cancers. Also, the users, especially children, are said to be susceptible to a certain deformity of fingers as they continue to use the key pad or the touch pad for hours. So, it is evident that man has demonstrated a propensity of weakening his health, the greatest wealth of his life, due to his addiction to mobile phones. Moreover, the people’s immersion with the cell phone, especially while driving or travelling, is very likely to distract their concentration and ultimately to precipitate various accidents. These consequences cannot, at all, be taken for granted.

Apart from the degradation that the mobile phone causes to the health of its users, the social issues that it inflicts are very saddening to note. Even the most innocent, immature children have received an exposure, through mobile phones, to pornographic movies and video clips featuring vast expanding nudity and sexual vulgarity. Consequently, these young minds become distorted thus paving the way for a morally bankrupt society because the children who are at an impressionable age show an incorrigible proclivity to what is displayed there on the screen. Furthermore, they seem to have become permanent addicts to video games with the extensive use of cell phones. As these children find it difficult to concentrate on their studies, they begin to perform poorly in their academics. This situation is therefore likely to create a lasting and disastrous impact on the lives of these children. It is thus apparent that the mobile phone has some very unfavourable effects on the society.

Nevertheless, when looking at the problem from a rational point of view, it is not difficult to understand that the cell phone cannot be branded as the wrongdoer, because it is we who have so severely become a slave to these inanimate objects to such an extent as to allow them to control ourselves. Since the mobile phone is considered indispensable by modern man, it cannot be banned and none will express his consent for such a decision. Nothing, after all, is perfect in this world and everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, it is up to us, the users, to make the mobile phones a blessing or a bane to ourselves. It is, therefore, us that need to make the choice. We must be intelligent enough to separate the chaff from the grain. Sugar and sand may be mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and goes off with the sugar. Thus we should be careful enough to get only what seems beneficial to us and what leads to our betterment from them, and the rest has to be relinquished.

Also, an invaluable opportunity is waiting to be taken by skillful engineers and technologists who want their careers to fly high. The time is, now, ripe for them to apply and exercise the best of their genius in order to manufacture new mobile phones in a way which helps reduce or eliminate the injurious threats that they pose to the healthy life of humans. Concerned citizens who do not want to leave a legacy of disaster to their posterity, should join hands together at this momentary juncture, and take necessary measures to limit the liberty that they have given to their children in using hand phones. The children need to be given a sound awareness regarding the devastating repercussions of using the cell phone for longer periods of time and for unwanted purposes. Such timely measures will definitely be of great assistance in ensuring the fact that the mobile phone is a benediction that cherishes the peace and harmony among the nations, and a heavenly messenger that units the entire world together irrespective of the many territorial, political and racial boundaries.


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