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This blog isn’t intended to make me sound like a dinosaur; a troglodyte if you will but the crux of this piece is to examine the extent to which mobile phones have penetrated every aspect of our lives.

To be immediately contactable and to have instant access to information are now seen by many as a basic human right.  This is not altogether a bad situation as there are times when we do need certain pieces of information or when we must urgently contact someone – the technology allows us to do this very thing.  However, the downside seems to be the addiction to it.  A compulsion to constantly be checking, using or holding your phone is common, and for younger generations is seen as simply “normal” behaviour.

The habitual checking to see whether one has missed a phone call or received a message interrupts the natural flow of a conversation, diverts attention away from what is often important.  How many times have you been chatting to someone who does nothing but look at their phone?  Annoying, isn’t it?

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The mobile phone takes precedence over whatever we are doing at the time.  You may be in the middle of a conversation (general or important) but as soon as the ring tone begins to chime you are forgotten and taken away with immediate effect.  Fewer and fewer people are turning their phones onto silent whilst out with friends, and more and more people are allowing the mobiles calling to dictate what must occur in their lives.

I think an element of this is understandable and has been around as long as phones (not just mobiles) have been.  The issue now is that it feels as though everyone owns a mobile and people own them from young ages.  Why on Earth would an eight year old need a mobile?  The answer is: they don’t need them but it is now so imbedded into our psyche that there is no turning back.  Also, the wonder of pester power: “…but Mum…Alice has got one…”, a sentence uttered thousands of times a day minutes before the adult is coaxed into buying one, signing up for contracts and allowing their child access to the internet, to calls and leaving them open to muggings.

The reason people have become so hooked on their phones is simple – as phone technology has improved more and more can be achieved, stored and done with them.  People now use their phones all day long: as alarm clocks to wake up to, as a clock, to call, to text, to research, as a diary, as a camera, as a calculator, a converter, a calendar, a phonebook, a radio, a juke box, a hand held game, a photo album, a voice recorder, a stopwatch, a timer, as a fashion accessory and much, much more.

We have become dependant and dependency by its nature is a form of addiction.

Two friends of mine recently went to a restaurant on a first date and spent a large portion of the evening using their phones.  They responded to texts from friends, answered calls from people wondering where they each were, posting statuses and comments and pictures of the date on Social Networking sites and of course, the obligatory check every seven minutes in case they didn’t hear the insistent chiming of the phone.  The mobile phone has numbed our ability to communicate in face to face situations.  The mobile, along with the computer, has allowed us to tell more about ourselves to hundreds of acquaintances than would have ever told our closest friend before the rise of social networking.

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As I type this I realise that I am just as guilty…having checked my phone at least eight times whilst typing this.  I hear the “tut-tut” in my own head so you can save yours, but at least I am alone right now.

The positive aspects of being able to stay in touch are incredible and the options of many different communications are superb.  I can contact anyone I know at almost anytime and be fairly positive to reach them.

I still don’t think that I will ever be able to warm to those who speak loudly on a train carriage to tell their loved one that they “will be home in ten minutes”.  The amount of pointless conversation and unneeded babble the mobile phone has created is beyond doubt the worst aspect for me (that and playing a game on your phone whilst trying to converse).

It seems that the take-over has already happened and will no doubt continue to build and progress.  In the future people will we still use the spoken language or will we just text each other and poke each other on Facebook?  I have a feeling that we will speak, but dread that it may be “text-speak” spoken aloud.

 LUV U PPL, THNX 4 2DAY, C U L8R  

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