Cellphones By Kskhh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Weighing the Pros & Cons of Phones

Television went from bulky boxes running with chords and antennas to flat screen, ultra high quality picture with nearly no wires or cables. Cell phones started from massive brick phones to tiny, thin phones that could fit in your pocket comfortably. Everything from MP3 players to portable video game consoles like Gameboys and Nintendos have evolved so fast, that most kids of this generation probably shiver upon hearing the phrase “flip phone”. However, one might perk up upon logging onto the internet and seeing that Apple has made a new IPhone. Actually, any young kid’s eyes might just light up when a cell phone is mentioned. So the new IPhone is coming out, you or someone else wants it because of its sleek new design or ultra high definition camera, maybe its super fast processors or high quality speakers. Cell phone sales are on the rise, but with this popular device there are many advantages but there are also many drawbacks and dangerous risks that come along with cell phone use.

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in your car, driving around town to meet your friend for lunch. The streets wind on forever and you find yourself unable to navigate through the streets. Suddenly, you gasp. Oh no! Was that the turn? Was it two blocks down? Is it ahead? Then, while you drive, you say loud and clear - “Hey, Siri!” A robotic voice rattles from your phone on the dashboard, answering with a polite “How can I help you?” You ask Siri to find you directions to the restaurant. Siri immediately directs you to the place. As the voice directs you, you ask Siri to text your friend and tell her you’re going to be late - you missed a turn, or two, or maybe three, but you’ll be there soon! Siri gladly ships the text message to your friend. You do all this without even moving a finger from the steering wheel.

Studies have shown the impact of phones and how they’ve come to rise in numbers in different age groups. “In a Niche survey of more than 800 users, 77 percent of students got their first cell phone between the ages of 10 and 17, with only 1 percent reporting having never had one,” says niche.com. The article touches on how many children today are not accustomed to cell phone use. But not only does it bring up specific statistics, it also brings out the advantages and drawbacks of children owning cellphones. According to the article, a cell phone can come in handy when a child needs to contact their parents at any given time. Perhaps the child feels endangered? Well, with a few clicks, the child can quickly call for help. If a crisis happens to arise while the child is at school, a parent can easily and quickly get a hold of them on their cell phone. Another article on partselect.com says that the constant access to the internet on one’s cell phone can be a great help when asking questions. The article reads, “This can help with studies as well as other simple daily questions like daily weather or finding directions to go someplace new.”

Not only can it be beneficial for children, it can be just as important for people of all ages. In times of dire need, someone could easily pick up the phone and dial the emergency services. Years ago, the local news reported a young boy was home with his family when intruders broke into their home. The home invasion took a suddenly violent turn. However, the boy had his phone in his pocket, and while he sat in the locked room, he called for help. Before things got even worse, police came, apprehended the intruders, and no one was harmed.

In one CNN report, Leigh Fazzina was participating in a triathalon. During the biking part of the event, she had gotten lost and wound up in the woods, just when it was getting dark. As she attempted to find her way back to the trail, she hit a tree root and somersaulted into the air, landing on her shoulder while her bike hit her along the way. Fazzina managed to retrieve her BlackBerry from her bicycle’s pouch, then proceed to call for help. "I called my cousin and it kept saying 'connecting, connecting, but it wouldn't connect,' " she says. She tried to call again. "Then I looked at the signal and noticed I only had one bar." Fazzina then remembered her account on popular social media - Twitter. At the crash sight, she managed to tweet I've had a serious injury and NEED Help! Can someone please call Winding Trails in Farmington, CT tell them I'm stuck bike crashed in woods. Within minutes, at least six of her followers had immediately contacted the local authorities. Help arrived about 20 minutes later, just before dark. "I knew I'd get instant, serious help from the network I'm connected to on Twitter," says Fazzina. She touched on how important technology is to us today, saying "There's so much technology out there, and we should take advantage of it … Cell phones can do so many things."

However, cell phones aren’t always for humans! In 2014, a Marine vet, Terry McGlade, began to experience a seizure. Luckily, Major, a pitbull-lab mix trained to help the wounded vet, was able to pull McGlade’s phone from his pocket. Major pawed at the phone and managed to dial 911. Then, Major ran out to the lawn and waited for police to arrive, then guided them inside the home where Terry laid unconscious. In 2015, a service dog named Yolanda pulled her unconscious blind owner from a fire in their home. After, Yolanda proceeded to dial 911 and waited patiently for her owner to wake up.

Despite the positive points, cell phones have been known to cause quite a bit of damage, mentally and physically. The Center of Disease Control did a study, concluding that each day 8 people are killed and 1,161 people are injured in crashes in which a driver is distracted. One of the highest causes? Texting while driving. Driving at 55 miles per hour, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to drive across a football field. While there’s very little ways to prevent texting and driving, many states have passed laws that make texting and driving illegal. Not only can a simple text distract someone while driving, it can cause some non life threatening injuries, or plain embarrassing feats. Some may bump into walls or people or trip over things, while some have been caught on camera accidentally falling into mall water fountains.

One disadvantage that has become quite evident in a lot of teens is how phones hinder actual human interaction. Studies show that humans are naturally social creatures, but often times phones take away the opportunity to interact with someone face-to-face. Because of this, many people, especially young ones, become socially inept and are unable to socialize normally.

Phones are a problem in schools today as well. Cell phones can easily distract a child during class and cause them to become more absorbed in their phone’s activity, rather than the things he should be learning. Due to the constant access to the internet, one could easily cheat during a test by simply searching for the answer on their web browser. However, many children who are caught cheating usually face serious consequences.

According to International Data Corporation, global sales totaled up to 341.5 million shipments. With innovative new technology such as ultra-clear camera quality or quick processors, phones have become more and more popular over the years. However, cell phones don’t just come along with fun games and high quality graphics - everyone needs to weigh out the pros and the cons. When used inappropriately or irresponsibly, phones can be used as catalysts to cause great harm or even death. But, they have come quite in handy to people of all ages. With great power comes great responsibility, even if that power comes in a 5” computer piece that fits in your pocket.

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