Sociological Effects of the Cell Phone
By Brian Heuberger
According to a Harris Interactive survey, in 2008 89 percent of adults owned a cellular phone. Due to relentless marketing and innovative technological advancements for cell phones, they now are used for making calls, sending messages, using the Internet, obtaining information, storing business data, playing games and watching movies. Although these advancements offer many amenities, conveniences and luxuries, the cell phone explosion of the 2000s also causes detrimental sociological effects.
In the U.S, Americans have become accustomed to the distractions of checking their cell phones to text message other people, to play games or to surf the Internet with incessant frequency, and a resulting sociological effect is a decreasing ability to concentrate, retain attention on one subject and to remain focused. When used in inappropriate locations or imprudent situations — such as at school, work, entertainment events, restaurants, museums and parks — cell phones disrupt people’s’ concentration and thus their ability to learn, think or converse with each other.
A significant sociological effect of cell phones is that people can always be contacted. While this allows Americans to contact to people in safety or emergency situations, being always contactable also makes them always accountable to answer the phone and respond to messages during their personal time. The loss of valuable and irreplaceable personal time is a harmful sociological effect of the cell phone explosion of the American culture. Whether a person is reading a favorite book after work, enjoying a meal with friends, playing the guitar or relaxing on vacation during the holidays, the excessive use of cell phones greatly interferes with their important personal time activities. Furthermore, because cell phones have made people always available to be contacted, companies can contact their employees any time, interrupt their precious free time activities and demand that they do work.
Cell phones have dramatically altered the nature of social communication in the U.S. and many other countries. Due to an increased ability to speak or text message people who are not present, it is common to see a group of friends hanging out together at a restaurant or bar and for none of the friends to be speaking to each other because they are fixated with text message conversations on their cell phones with other people who are not present. This demonstrates a prioritizing of the phone or text message conversation as more important than having a conversation with those who are present. The tendency — and preference — for Americans to communicate with other people through the formal and impersonal method of text messages and phone calls has inhibited their social skills, conversation skills and their ability to relate and communicate with each other in person. Because personal social interaction with humans who are present is vital to the human condition, the lack of social interaction caused by excessive cell phone use is a damaging sociological effect of cell phones.
- Teenagers hiding cell phone activity in texting apps (abc4.com)
- The Text Message Era (mycricket.com)