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Cell Phone Pros/cons

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March 18, 2012

Progression II-4

The development of cell phones has dramatically changed the way of life for an entire generation. Not only have billions of people become accustomed to cell phones, but they have also become dependant on them for all matters of business and pleasure, everything from emergencies to checking in with mom and dad. In about twenty-five years of availability, the cell phone has revealed an astounding rate of adoption- nearly 1,752 billion cell phone users worldwide, which is up from about 91 million cell phone users in 1995 (Goggin 2006). What is this mobile technology doing to our generation, would life be better without all of these advancements? Before the boom of mobile technology, people were just fine using landlines to stay in contact with family and friends. Today people are using cell phones as an easier way to stay in touch with friends, family and people they would not normally talk to everyday. "Some [people] even opt not to have a land line" (Aoki and Downes: 361). The cell phone has become much more than a device for making phone calls - it has become a central cultural technology in its own right (Goggin 2006), and a way of life for millions if not billions of people worldwide. So I wonder, is this generation in a downward spiral due to technology? Or are these technological advancements like air, necessary but invisible?

Face-to-face interaction:

When walking around the University of Colorado Boulder, you tend to see the thousands of students walking to class with their heads down and fingers moving at a thousand miles per hour. If you were to follow one of those students, you would notice that they only look up so often to make sure they are headed in the right direction- all of this so they can send off one more text before they get to class. "The typical teenager sends and receives an incredible 3,339 texts a month (which translates into more than 6 messages every hour that he of she is not sleeping) while making and receiving only 191 phone calls during that same time period. Two years ago, teens sent and received about the same number of texts and calls." (Rosen: 10-15). Texting is a great way to stay in contact with an old friend who might live in a different state. I found that I, as a college student, use my cell phone is a great way to stay in touch with my parents. I am constantly on the move, and my parents like to know where I am. I can easily shoot them a text in a matter of seconds, to let them know what I am up to.

Kumiko Aoki and Edward Downes interviewed 137 college students, all of whom had a cell phone to help them with their research, An Analysis of Young People's use of and Attitudes Toward Cell Phones. When Aoki and Downes asked why they had a cell phone, the majority of the answers were because they needed to stay in touch with their parents while they were out. While many of the interviewees mentioned that the original purpose of getting a cell phone was not for social interaction, almost all of participants started to use their phone for staying in touch with friends, calling people when they are bored, or even just using the phone because they are able to use it.

Screening calls can be a problem. Aoki and Downes 2003, stated, "Yeah, it's a pain in the butt. Because before (you had the cell phone) you could have excuses to get away from people." But now people catch on when you don't pick up. "They know that you are denying their call and they're not happy. There's no way you can get away from it (cell phone) and just have quite time" (Aoki and Downes: 355). In the long run screening calls can cause many problems, but screening calls in the short term can save you an angry conversation.

This might be a sign that we are losing our personality. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines personality as, "The quality of state of being a person." When you text, you are essentially being technology. There is no way to show your personality in your text messages. You can have all the phone numbers in the world, and text everyone all day every day, but still be very lonely. Texting is taking away our face-to-face interaction.

Texting and use of our cell phones can limit the quality of our friendships. The Internet and American Life Project surveyed texters, and two thirds of them said that they are more likely to text their friends rather than call them. Their findings also showed that 54% of the participants would text their friends daily, while only 33% of them actually speak to their friends in person (Stout).

In the article by Stout, Jeffrey G. Parker, a professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama was quoted saying, "In general, the worries over cyber-bullying and sexting have overshadowed a look into the really nuanced things about the way technology is affecting the closeness properties of friendship, [...] We're only beginning to look at those subtle changes." We are not 100% sure about what the use of our cell phone is doing to the quality of our friendships, but we do know that it is affecting them in a negative way.

Always connected:

When Aoki and Downes finished their research, they found that the biggest reason to have a cell phone was "Necessity in modern times" (Aoki and Downes: 358). This is as if the few college students they interviewed are said having a cell phone allows me to use my time efficiently, it makes it possible to multitask, and a cell phone makes it possible to schedule or reschedule last minute appointments. To these students, using a cell phone makes good use of the time that otherwise would be wasted, and those students who do not have a cell phone are out of touch with modern times. Finally saying, we need a cell phone to be successful in the world today. (Aoki and Downes: 359)

As the technology in cell phones advances, its almost as if we are constantly connected. What can't our cell phones do? They are good for: staying in contact, text messaging, fashion, music, daily work routines, watching videos, cameras, video camera, surfing the internet, dating, bullying, locating people, cheating, gaming, and so much more (Goggin 2006). What does it mean to always be connected? Does it mean that you are up to date on all the latest gossip? You are able to be on the Facebook application, while texting your best friend about the big party this weekend, you are able to access everything that is going on all from your fingertips.

A few of the college students also noted the negatives of having a cell phone. Such as always being connected. "You feel like it (the cell phone) is a leach." (Aoki and Downes: 355) In



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