The use of mobile phones has intensified in the last few decades. In fact, cell phones have become a necessity for many people all across the world in general and in the UAE in particular. According to Waqas, “Conducted by dmg events Middle East, the study has revealed that around 53 percent of UAE residents spend Dhs10,000 annually on technology, while about 15 percent splurge Dhs15,000 a year. However, these advancements come with an equal measure of disadvantages. People have become inattentive and less social, which has led to various accidents caused by distracted drivers. Moreover, electromagnetic waves emitted by cell phones also have various side effects. As cell phones have been becoming an important part of modern life, it is essential to discuss their risks.
Mobile phones are being widely used and wherever people go, they see others sticking their heads into their mobile phones and not realizing what is happening around them. However, nowadays interactions have changed a lot as compared to the traditional ways. First of all, the introduction of the internet has made people more involved in virtual relationships as opposed to the physical ones. Consequently, people end up becoming less social since they are glued to their cell phones most of the time. They become so attached to their mobile phones that they cannot live without them. This gives rise to feelings of frustration, anger, and worry when they are unable to use their phones. Secondly, people are less willing to hold face-to-face conversations; therefore, conflicts cannot be resolved. Voegeli postulates that cell phone use creates anti-social tendencies in people, contributes to rising impatience, and leads to incorrect grammar and spellings, which consequently affect face-to-face communications. People are currently likely to lose patience quickly because they are used to finding any informative they need instantly through their various gadgets. Therefore, when they have to wait longer for something than a few seconds, they get impatient and anxious. This way, people have lost the ability to wait for anything. In this respect, smart phones have had an especially adverse impact on children who get exposed to the technologies at very early ages. They become so enwrapped in technology since early childhood that they lack socialization skills needed for communication with other people. The matter is that they can communicate effectively only through some technological device, which may negatively impact their social life as adults.
The inability of people to stop using their phones even while driving is extremely dangerous. Various tragic accidents have reportedly been caused by the use of mobile phones while driving. Thus, accident rates have increased with the rise of the cell phone use. The UAE, in particular, is plagued by accidents caused by the mobile phone use. Statistics from the traffic department has shown a rise in traffic-related violations in the last three years from 35,734 in 2013 to 46,463 in 2014. In most cases, people tend to use social media or send text messages while driving. The allure of connecting to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram to learn about global updates on a real-time basis disorients drivers, leading to accidents. It has been even declared that using a mobile phone while driving can be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. The main reason of that is distraction that mobile phones cause. Nonetheless, in this particular case mobile phones are merely a distractor, while drivers who choose to use the phones while driving are to blame for the increasing accident rate. People have become so inpatient and accustomed to getting whatever they want instantly that they cannot wait for the duration of the drive from one place to another without checking on updates in the social media, news, messages, and calls.
Moreover, the use of cell phones has been found to cause health risks. Research shows that electromagnetic radiation from cell phones has many side effects. According to George, despite the authorities disagreeing with the claim that cell phones are the cause of brain tumors, a senior doctor in the UAE has reportedly treated several patients suffering from the effects of electromagnetic radiation. It is believed that prolonged cell phone use causes one-sided headaches and hearing issues, as reported by Dr. Suresh Menon, the Medical Director at Dubais Lifeline Hospital. Moreover, the use of mobile phones can lead to memory loss, headache, cancer, and fatigue. Other diseases like uveal melanoma, acoustic neuroma, and leukemia are also attributed to the use of cell phones. Although researchers have not revealed the exact mechanism of how cell phones impact human health and there is no evidence to support a hypothesis about potential lethal consequences of exposure to the radio frequency energy emitted by cell phones, there is empirical evidence that excessive use of these gadgets really affects people. Therefore, it is highly recommended to limit the use of cell phones only to instances when it is truly necessary to do that.
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Nonetheless, it is undeniable that cell phones have not only shortcomings, but also a wide range of benefits and advantages. Hence, there is no doubt that mobile phones make it possible to interact with people across the globe. Gozalova argues that people prefer using mobile phones as it makes life easier, saves time, and makes the society more effective. However, they adversely affect how people relate among themselves, leading to a socially withdrawn society, which increases conflicts. Westenberg states that smartphones impair human ability to engage in face-to-face conversations. The main reason of this negative impact is the fact that people prefer engaging in digital communication with messaging becoming a quite popular mode of communication. Nevertheless, it is up to people to find a balance between real-life and online communication and not to excessively rely on only one mode. Besides, cell phones allow maintaining social connections with a lot of people from different corners of the world, thereby expanding the network of connections and contributing to socialization of people.
Cell phones may also be effectively used for educational reasons. Owning a mobile phone can be compared to having all the information in the world at the tip of ones fingers. Teachers greatly benefit from this because they can use the internet to research students questions and give clear answers. Surfing encourages students to be independent as they have unlimited access to information. However, cell phones sometimes foster laziness as students tend to copy material directly from the internet. Such information may be grammatically incorrect, which affects language and increases spelling mistakes. Cranfield School of Management has found that six out of ten students copy information directly from websites without reading it clearly. At the same time, it is again the problem of the lack of a proper educational culture. Cell phones may be an effective and efficient educational tool, but students need to be taught and instructed on how to use it to their benefit instead of allowing students to decide that on their own.
Another undeniable benefit of using cell phones is their ability to assist in emergency situations. According to Vats, cell phones are of great use in time of such emergencies like having ones car broken in the middle of the road or being late for an important appointment. Besides, in case one feels sick or sees a person in a dire need of medical help, cell phones became highly useful for calling ambulance or other emergency services needed. Without modern technologies, millions of people worldwide would be unable to access necessary emergency services, which could contribute to the rise in the rate of deaths caused by diseases, fires, accidents, crimes, and other extreme circumstances. Similarly, emergency services employees can coordinate their actions and find out more about needs with a view to being better prepared to provide assistance. Nonetheless, some of the accidents are caused by cell phones as evident from their role in car accidents. Moreover, cell phones and other technologies have made people more inattentive and careless, which also is a cause of many accidents.
Withal, the use of cell phones has increased greatly all over the world and this goes beyond personal interests. However, such use has both benefits and shortcomings for users and other people around them. The increased use of cell phones has had various dangerous effects like decreased social interactions, an increase in accidents, and various health issues. It is essential to create awareness of the dangers of the cell phones use in order to make people able avoid most of them and prevent adverse outcomes of the excessive extended use. This will help in saving lives by encouraging people to use their cell phones judiciously and smartly. Besides, it is reasonable to encourage people to use cell phones only when necessary.