Technology is anything that people use to make a task easier. A cell phone is a type of technology that is a common thing to see in everyday life. The world and the people in it have gotten used to this technology. Cell phones are making the lives of an estimated two hundred sixty five million Americans (Natterson 103) and three billion worldwide (Natterson 103), easier. As useful as cell phones may be, there are negative effects in over using cell phones. Cell phone technology was first developed in the 1980’s, but cell phones became common in the early 1990’s (Firestone 24).
As time progressed so did the cell phone’s technology. Cell phones became digital in the early 1990’s; making them more affordable and small enough to comfortably carry anywhere (Firestone 24). A few years later the cell phone underwent another change. In 1996 cell phones began to change again with a new technology allowing cell phones to access the Internet (Firestone 25). These smart phones became instantly popular. By the early 2000’s smart phones were common. Users could check e-mails and browse the web with applications made for cell phones (Firestone 25). Cell phone signals can be broadcast over wide areas. Each broad cast area is called a cell. That is how cell phones got their names” (Firestone 23). These cell phone signals are carried out through radio frequencies. Cell phones use two radio frequencies at the same time, meaning they are duplex devices (Firestone 24). A cell phone would only be able to work like a walkie-talkie if they were not duplex devices. Since cell phones are duplex devices, they use two radio frequencies. One transmits sound and the other receives it, allowing two people to talk at the same time (Firestone 24).
Two of the main parts of a cell phone are the capacitor and the battery. A cell phone’s capacitor moves and stores electricity at a reliable rate (Cunningham 15). Without it a cell phone could not function properly. The capacitor is usually made out of tantalum (Cunningham 14). A cell phone’s battery usually is a lithium ion battery. Lithium ion batteries wear out and are sensitive, even dangerous when exposed to heat (Cunningham 16). Cell phones can also cause physical health problems such as cancer.
Mobile phones, cordless phones, and Wi-Fi (wireless internet connection and wireless networking) emit the same harmful microwaves (Mobile Phone Safety). Microwaves have been proven to have negative effects on the brain. It is proven that sub thermal power densities form pulse- modulated and continuous RF EMF’s including those from cell phones have the potential to open blood- brain barriers (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage). EMF stands for electromagnetic fields. EMF affects cells causing mutation (Natterson 115). The world population still has many cell phone users.
A fourth of the world population is currently exposing themselves to microwaves from cell phones (Mobile Phones and Brain Damage). Many countries are starting to understand the dangers that cell phones posses. “A German study found a threefold higher frequency of cancer among people living in vicinity (400 meters) of a GSM base station compared to people living further away from the antenna” (Mobile Phone Safety). Spain also found evidence of cardiovascular problems, visual disorders, in people living near cell phone towers (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage).
There has been much research done on microwaves and how they affect the brain. Researchers found evidence for brain cell damage in rats exposed for 2 hours to microwaves from cell phones. The damage was still seen 50 days after exposure (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage). “Rats exposed to mobile phones for two hours showed damages that persisted 50 days later. Even after all these tests and research cell phones are still affecting a great percentage of the world population. But current exposure standards are still highly inadequate to protect the public” (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage).
When using cell phones there are two major kinds of hazards: DNA damage and blood-brain barrier damage (Mobile Phone Safety). DNA is damaged by mobile phone radiation. The stronger the intensity of the radiation the greater the damage is done to the brain. DNA damage increases the risk for cancer. The risk for a harmful effect is small with short calls and get worse over time. To minimize the damage to DNA make shorter calls (Mobile Phone Safety). Swedish researcher Leif Salford, neurosurgeon, found that blood-brain barrier protects the brain from inflow of harmful substances from the bloodstream.
It was disrupted by mobile phone microwaves during normal calls. There is a risk that disruption of this protection barrier may damage the brain (Mobile Phone Safety). When signal is weak, mobile phones irradiate. Avoid speaking in elevators and other confined places. Avoid calling close to children and pregnant women because the thin skulls of children increases brain tumor risk (Mobile Phone Safety). People should be very restrictive when using cell phones because scientific evidence has proved serious hazards like brain tumors (Mobile Phone Safety).
People below 20 have a higher risk in getting cancer and should have mobile phones that allow SMS messages only (Mobile Phone Safety). Cell phones have also caused psychological problems to people. In Spain two 900/1800 MHz mobile phone base stations showed people with symptoms of depressive tendency, fatigue, sleeping disorder, difficulty in concentration, and loss of memory (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage). Cell phones can aid in losing focus or concentration. Cell phones can also cause distractions causing many car accidents (Natterson 115).
Cell phones have also caused addiction. “8:00 p. m. Eastern time on April 17, 2007 over five million blackberry users in the United States could not get wireless e-mail” (Kay 91). For 10 hours BlackBerrys could not use text messaging, Internet faxing, and web browsing. Many people had a technology meltdown (Kay 91). On that incident some said it was one of the hardest things they have ever done. “One woman, who had quit smoking nearly 30 years before, said that experience was easier than being without her blackberry (Kay 91). Dr.
Kimberly Young, director of the center for Internet Addiction Recovery, says that signs of techno- stress include: feeling like personal and work boundaries are blurred, anxious if you have not checked your e-mail in the last 12 hours, perception of time feels altered, feeling like no matter how much you do you should still be doing so much more (Kay 93). There are now special classes where people can go to try and “cure” their addictions. Psychologists have officially classified technology addiction as an impulse disorder, or compulsive over-use (Kay 91). The over use of cell phones have also created social problems in society. A growth in cell phone usage has blurred the boundary between personal space and the general public environment (The Power of Cell Phones). People have been forgetting the common courtesy with the public and making private conversations public. “The distinction between the private and public norms of proper and improper etiquette has been blurred by the convenient, yet intrusive, nature of cell phones” (The Power of Cell Phones). Addiction to cell phones is becoming a social problem that many people are unaware of having. Many feel the need to constantly be connected to others.
They do not want to be isolated or ignored (The Power of Cell Phones). People want to talk and socialize to have a sense of security. Cell phones only provide people with a false sense of security. Cell phones increase social alienation (The Power of Cell Phones). People become less involved in public relations and interaction with society (The Power of Cell Phones). People limit their social networks and public relations; cell phones cause social gaps by separating people from the social world (The Power of Cell Phones). Text messaging has also added to the social deterioration of society.
Text messaging is indirect and creates misunderstandings in human relationships because people interpret sentences with multiple meanings (The Power of Cell Phones). With less and less actual human interaction society is becoming worse. “Human contact is the main foundation of society” (The Power of Cell Phones). Face to face interaction is healthier than telecommunication because it increases social skills and makes relationships better (The Power of Cell Phones). Although 85% of adults have cell phones (More and More Teens on Cell Phones), teens are the ones most affected by cell phones.
Surveys show that in 2004 45% of teens had cell phones, 63% in 2006, and 71% in 2008 (More and More Teens on Cell Phones). The difference in age is usually the only difference in the number of teens that have cell phones. The largest increase occurs during the ages of 14. In the transition years between middle and high school (More and More Teens on Cell Phones). Older teens are more likely to have cell phones than younger teens (More and More Teens on Cell Phones). Girls and Boys are equally likely to own cell phones. No differences by race/ ethnicity, only small differences by social economic status. 7% of teens have used their phones to call friends, 76% have sent text messages (More and More Teens on Cell Phones). Nerve cell damage may result in reduced brain reserve capacity (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage). Researchers point out that rats used to prove this theory were 12- 26 weeks old comparable in age to human teenagers (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage). “Teenagers’ brains may age prematurely” (Mobile Phones & Brain Damage). Also 1/3 of teens in recent poll reported that they fall asleep in class at least twice a day. (Caffeine and Technology Add to Reduced Sleep in Teens).
Many teens have problems sleeping because of technology at disposal including cell phones (Caffeine and Technology Add to Reduced Sleep in Teens). Over using cell phones can cause many negative effects involving physical health problems such as cancer, psychological problems such as cell phone addiction or an impulsive disorder. Social problems like decreasing social skills are also negative effects of over usage of cell phones. If cell phones continue to have a major influence on teens the future there may be many more problems like this since teenagers are the most affected by the negative effects of cell phones.