I do not own a mobile phone. Yes, that’s right! I’m coming out and admitting it in public. I don’t have a ‘cell-phone’ a mobile, an iphone, a hand-held, and I’m proud of it. The only blackberry and apple I understand are found in an individual fruit pie.
I used to own one. It was a pay-as-you-go sim inside a basic handset. It had no camera, let alone a video camera, no touch-screen, no mp3 player, it didn’t connect to the internet or download ‘apps’. All my phone did was – phone people.
Tap in the number and it dialled. Simple, effective and cheap – that is, until Vodafone decided they weren’t making enough money out of me! I used it perhaps once every six months, and they zapped my number without telling me for ‘inactivity’.
My husband still has a similar phone and when he showed some young people recently, they crowded round to see this novelty: a phone that, good heavens! just phones people. How cool is that? Do you think it might catch on? Perhaps there’s an app for that; it turns your screen into a phone dial?
Anyway, when Vodafone deleted my sim, I decided I could live without a mobile, and I happily do. Call me an old biddy of you like, but I feel no need to text to my myriad of friends (yeah right!) while I’m loading my washing machine, walking round the supermarket or while watching a movie at the local Cinema.
Mobiles are taking over from e-mails, but even worse, they are taking the place of any social interaction with real people. A ‘Sheila’s Wheels’ survey found that many love their phones more than their partners, and on the average night out 48 minutes are spent on these techy toys. One 13-year old admitted to sending nearly 15 thousand texts in one month, many of them to friends in the same room. (source)
If friends are sitting next to me, I’d prefer to talk to them face-to-face. However, I know I’m in a minority. Many teens can’t get off their phones. And not just teens – the recent failure of the Blackberry network left millions of phone-users suffering angry withdrawal symptoms.
Persistent mobile-phone users are in a dream-world most of the time, paying more attention to a little coloured screen than to life and people around them. They eat, play games, travel, watch TV, do school work, go clubbing – all as peripheral activities secondary to holding a long conversation on their phone.
The reality of life, it seems to me, has become too difficult and stressful for children to cope with. Their first and perhaps only form of social life is through technology, and this isn’t just the fault of parents who use the TV and computers and phones as a substitute for the nurturing all children crave. It’s the preferred choice of kids who are simply afraid of living.
The same 13-year old mentioned above said she “doesn’t like talking to her parents” so she texts her friends instead. What does that say about her understanding of relationships? (source)
Baby & Toddler Phones
One British child in four between the ages of five and 16 now has a mobile phone. Child psychologist Dr David Lewis said: ‘The mobile phone has developed into a playground craze in this country.’
The addiction of children to their mobile phones could threaten the very fabric of society, a study suggests. Many teenagers are fanatical about being always available and are extremely uneasy if unable to contact their friends countless times each day. If the trend continues, young people will soon be incapable of forming and maintaining relationships without the help of a mobile, the study by a leading sociologist concludes.
Dr Lewis endorsed the warning that, in conjunction with home computers and video games, the mobile is having a detrimental effect on children’s social skills. ‘The mobile now often substitutes for physical play,’ he explained. (source)
Is it a way of keeping people at a distance? Some find texting more interesting than talking to a real human being. Try to get their attention when they are texting, and they just ignore you. It’s like you are not even there. Is this a way of screening out real life?
Texting Poll: Can texting become obsessive?
I don’t engage in any of the Internet options for ‘chat’. I don’t run MSN, Google chat, Facebook chat or any of the others. And they are numerous!
But too many can’t live without their chat and web-cam permanently running. Somehow I can cope without the world knowing what I look like on a Monday morning (not a pretty sight) and what I’m thinking (usually needs censoring).
Twitter messaging is almost completely pointless, it seems to me. Who needs to know that you just drank your second coffee of the day? I’ve even seen people report on a successful visit to the loo. This kind of meaningless banter belongs in a real FAMILY, but since many are devoid of that experience they have to use the Internet.
There’s been a recent study done to show how many people own a mobile (over 90 percent) and how many are addicted to them (over 45 percent).
The results are even more startling than I could have imagined – and I already knew that phone addiction was a problem from seeing the crowds of teens and twenty-somethings with a mobile permanently stuck to their ear.
Some of them can text with one hand while driving a car! I know, I’ve seen them – (scary!).
I recently saw a ‘baby-friendly’ phone cover. I kid you not. It lets your baby or toddler play with your phone (and get used to the concept) without breaking it. Will baby dummies come phone-shaped soon? (source)
Viruses of Both Kinds
Phone use isn’t without its dangers. One in six mobile phones in Britain is contaminated with faecal matter, according to new research. 92 per cent of phones had bacteria on them.16 per cent of phones were found to harbour E. coli – bacteria of a faecal origin.
Dr Ron Cutler, of Queen Mary University of London, said: “Our analysis revealed some interesting results from around the UK. E. coli was present on phones and hands in every location and shows this is a nationwide problem. People may claim they wash their hands regularly but the science shows otherwise.”
There’s also a danger now of being hacked.
Smartphone users, especially those running Google’s Android system, are being warned to prepare for an unprecedented tsunami of malicious apps. Phones using the Android operating system – more than four out of five of all new phone sales – will face a 6000 percent higher chance of being hacked, and personal and security details compromised, according to industry experts.
Catalin Cosoi of UK cyber security firm Bitdefender said: “We have investigated applications for Android devices and basically, based on our statistics, we’ve seen a 2,000% increase of malicious applications compared to last year.Our prediction is that in the following six months, we will have a 6,000% increase in malicious applications.
“Once you have a smartphone, you probably can’t go back to an older version of a phone now that you have access to a computer, social media, emails, pictures and so on. You sort of get addicted, so smartphones are becoming very important. On the other hand, it’s very, very easy to create malware for smartphones.”
Despite these scares, and the danger of getting your brain fried by the microwaves, mobile phone use and all technology is set to explode across the globe. Is there something happening here at a spiritual level that should worry us?
Because I don’t use much technology I don’t feel the effect of withdrawal, but I can imagine it. The sudden loss of your only connection and the emotional gap that it leaves must be like a bereavement. What is happening to people inside? Is this instant communication akin to the omnipresent love of God and his fellowship?
I think so! Everyone has a God-shaped hole, an emotional and spiritual void that only HE can fill.
To some extent the need for love and security was met by parents and other mentors in previous centuries, but now people are drifting without an anchor. They desperately NEED to reach out and communicate, to feel that they BELONG. In the past this need drove people to pray and seek God, but who needs prayer when life is filled with texts and twitters all day long? There is no time to realise you are lonely, lost and helpless.
The endless parade of brightly-coloured images on a screen – whether computer, phone or games console – fills the void with instant gratification. It’s like satisfying your hunger with candy-floss instead of a real meal.
But what is it all for? What’s behind this flood of irresistible technology?
Surely it’s a replacement god, an all-knowing, all-supportive, ever-present god who does not challenge your life or behaviour but provides the warmth of companionship and the security-blanket of acceptance all night and day.
Eventually this addictive technology can be used to promote the New Thought and New Age for mankind – and millions will nod and agree like mindless drones because they no longer study or think or communicate beyond their colourful screen.
Something to ponder: Did you know that the Hebrew letter W also stands for the numeral 6 in that language? Doesn’t that make the WWW = 666? (Hmmmmmm.)