Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

When smart phones make fools out of us

Recently, on a flight from Frankfurt to Kolkata, I saw a child playing with his BlackBerry. This is a very common sight on flights. The moment an international flight hits the runway, people are ready, with thumbs on the switch on buttons, waiting for the air hostess to announce that they can switch on their mobiles. I especially mention international flights because on domestic flights nobody bothers to wait for the announcement.
The cell phone continues to expand its hold over our lives. This small device, which ushered in a communication revolution and became a fashion statement, is now a cause of concern thanks to a series of lifestyle and health disorders the world over.
At a time when countries across the world are struggling to come to terms with drug addiction, our society is faced with yet another menace — cell phone addiction. We all know that 9/11 ushered in a “surveillance era” that has irreversibly affected our social lives. One can only guess what cell phone addiction holds in store. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find “cell phone de-addiction” or “cell-coholic rehab” centres coming up to combat the menace.
For those addicted to texting and chatting, the cell phone has actually become a life-threatening device. There are almost daily reports in the newspapers about pedestrians on cell phones being run over by trains and cars or falling into pits or banging into poles. That is what cell phone addiction does to you. In fact, the smart phones are making fools out of us. Can a cell phone be worth one’s life?
No wonder researchers are trying to find out what it is that drives people to prioritise the virtual world of gadgetry over the real world. We have just begun to get a hang of the severity of the issue of cell phone addiction. The fact that new generation smart phones now make our handsets the gateway to a host of networking (Facebook, Twitter etc.,) and chat sites has exacerbated the issue.
Last week while in America, I read in the papers about a very common lifestyle disorder — the BlackBerry Thumb. The thumb is most used while texting and is often placed in awkward positions since the keypad on the device is very small. Over a period of time, the user of the phone feels increasing pain in the wrist or thumb, which can impede the normal functioning of his hands. Imagine writing an exam paper with a BlackBerry Thumb. Am I wrong to say that these smart phones often make a fool out of us?
I dont use Black Berry and as far as my cell phone is concerned I am on voice mail. It is better to avoid than to invite any medical problems that goes with excessive use of cellphones. Let's see how things work out, as none of us are in the habit of calling up landlines.
ess bee

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