Cell phones are one of the great devices that improve the lives of the society. Cell phones provide convenience and ease of access to communication for people worldwide. They allow people to work on the go and stay in touch with each other. Technology used by cell phone developers is also making rapid advancements. Nowadays, there are popular multi-tasking and smart cell phones which are called “smart phones”. With these advancements, obviously there will be more and more people in the society using cell phones – attached day and night, or almost 24/7. In the year 2011, the number of cell phones sold is estimated around 2 billion units, and every year it is making 12% increase of the previous year. However, are cell phones bringing only positive effects for the users? The answer is no. When this small ‘harmless’ device is becoming an object of attachment or obsession, there are several harmful effects that can arise in the user’s life in their finance, social aspect, and health.
The first effect that will immediately be felt by excessive using of cell phones is related to finance. Users who spend their whole lot of time texting, calling, using internet, and also using any kind of communication application provided by cell phone industries will eventually spend quite a lot of money on the bills, despite that there are now various bill packages offered for users. The question is: is it really necessary? The fact is that a businessman and an average high school student may spend the same amount of money on cell phone bills every month. Obviously, for some people in need of constant communication, it is probably necessary. But for some others, it is actually unnecessary to spend quite a lot of money on cell phone bills. Another issue is concerning the money spent on the latest trend of cell phones. Users who are obsessed with cell phones usually follow the latest trend of cell phones, the newest product, technology, and style of cell phones by purchasing them. Catching up with technology is important, but it might not be necessary to be the victim of technology, isn’t it?
Furthermore, being glued to cell phones has another harmful effect on the users’ social aspect. The first point is that it ruins relationships. How can this device that is supposed to connect people to communicate instead ruin relationships? Take the example of texting. Imagine people nowadays who do texting more than talking. When – let’s say – two people who are addicted to text each other constantly, be it friends or lovers, will there be anything left to say when they actually meet? Moreover, serious conversations that require face-to-face interaction are also being replaced by texts. This hasn’t considered that continuous texting that is gluing users will let no space for each other to ‘breathe’. It will eventually ruin their relationship instead of nourishing their relationship. Besides ruining relationships, what will happen when people or users are making cell phones higher priority above anything else or everyone around? The scene when everyone meets in one place but is individually busy with their cell phones is now commonly seen everywhere. This means individualization, making people more and more individual and lessening their face-to-face interaction with each other.
Ultimately, health is also affected by the using of cell phones. How are cell phones affecting people’s health? Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held. Considering the big amount of time that addicted users are exposed to this radiation by cell phones, there are possibilities and there could be some risks associated with cancer. Another concerning issue with cell phones related to health is psychological disorder. Users who are attached with their cell phones has a damaging effect to their psychological state, in which they feel empty, anxious, and even miserable without holding their cell phones. Last most obvious issue is eyes health. Clinging to cell phones for a long period of time will be detrimental to eye sight. Imagine our eyes being glued to the screen of cell phones nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Surely glasses will get thicker and thicker all the time.
Finally, cell phones have a great influence in people’s lives. But apart from that, they also have detrimental effects if they are used excessively – if they are being attached to. When used wisely, no particular harm would be felt by the users. However, being glued to cell phones would cause negative impacts on users’ finance, social aspect, and heath issues. After all, using cell phones wisely should help to prevent those undesired impacts. (780 words)
(Written by Nita Renata, a student of English Department, Atmajaya, Jakarta)