You are on page 1of 4

Role of mobile in the modern world:

This is the burning question all over. Most people would not think twice about saying that a
mobile phone is an integral part or our modern day life. There are many others who cannot
imagine their life without the gizmo. Be it a teenager for whom the only use of the mobile
phone is recreation, which he can jolly well, get from umpteen number of device or be it a
businessman for whom it is an absolute essential for his work, life without a mobile phone
has become handicapped. By using mobile phones, are we damaging our long-term health
just to stay in contact or worse simply just for a good image? You be the judge?

The mobile phone is the most dynamic device in the market. It is changing faster than the
computer. The new generation of WAP phones now allows the user to connect to the Internet,
sent e-mail, click photographs, and listen to music and even record full-length videos. The e-
mail feature, a tremendous advancement in technology, allows businesspeople to contact their
office at anytime day or night. This feature is also a cheap way of staying in touch not just
locally or regionally but globally, it is a major connectivity tool for any working man.
Sending e-mail is not nearly as expensive as the conventional methods of contact, therefore
has the potential to reduce costs considerably for the company. The powerful feature about e-
mail is that it can be sent anytime, not just within office hours, and time differences between
countries are no longer a consideration. For most mobile phone users the main utility of the
mobile phone is ability to contact friends of family in the event of an emergency. Most
parents provide phones to their children so that they can know where their children are
whenever they need to and it totally reduces the worrying. Most women who travel alone feel
more secure knowing that in an emergency or breakdown they can summon help without
leaving the safety of their car therefore, the mobile reduces the chances of being run over or
worse raped. But could having your mobile phones with you be a silent killer?

With the increase in use of mobile phones and the introduction of new technology which is
making not only the cost of the hand set cheap but also the usage of the phones results in
many more connections since more and more people are now able to afford it. However, this
does have its disadvantage, the prime being that the networks can become overloaded and
make it extremely difficult to connect to the network. The consequences of this could be
disastrous, mobile phone owners are lead to believe that they can contact help in the event of
an emergency when, in effect the crowed network may make this impossible. So there
develops a false sense of security. Parents are now increasingly buying mobile phones to stay
in contact with their children. Are they, by doing this, endangering their own health and more
importantly the health of their children? Are they not just providing them a sense of security
but a device, which is slowly harming their viscera? Many studies have been commissioned
to assess the health risks associated with ownership and use of a mobile phone. The results
are for all to see. Mobile phone emits a type of electromagnetic radiation called radio-
frequency radiation (RFR). The possible health risks of RFR can be characterized in two
ways: thermal and non-thermal. Thermal effects occur when enough RFR, at certain
frequencies, is absorbed to be converted to heat, increasing tissues temperature.

However, non-thermal effects and their health risks are something of an unknown quantity,
and that is where the problem lies. Since the effects have to quantified it could possibly
become too late when we actually find out what consequences we have to face. Though
disputed, its suggested they can occur at lower levels of exposure and involve changes to
body cells, possibly leading to anything from memory loss and headaches to tumors and even
Alzheimers. So far reports and investigations have been inconclusive. The long awaited
study by Sir William Stewart into mobile phone safety concluded. The balance of evidence
does not suggest mobile phones technologies put the health of the general population at risk.

It was not however denied to students to use mobile phones in cases of essential calls. There
was an all-party commission to probe the matter and even they could not come up with firm
evidence that mobile phones pose any threat to health. Therefore now the only judge to
decide on the use of mobile phones is the user of the mobile phone or in some cases the
parents of the user, but please to keep in mind that it is better to be safe than sorry. Scientists
have come to some agreement when they say that the mobile phone transmitter is a great
danger to public health. The planning laws at present allows transmitters to be erected
anywhere in the country as long as they are under the height of fifteen meters. Since it is still
not agreed whole-heartedly whether the mobile phones do cause damage to health, there is
still a lingering doubt in the mind of the general public and even the scientists researching the
case, so until the evidence is conclusive the government should enforce more strictly the
regulations, which control the location of mobile phone transmitters. One way in which this
could be done is to ban or severely restrict the erecting of these transmitters in built up or
residential areas.

The problem that will be circumvented in such cases is that even some people who do not use
the mobile phone are anyways exposed to the dangers of it due to the huge transmitters
erected near their homes. With the experts unsure at present whether transmitting masts pose
a health risk, especially to children under the age of fifteen, the ease at which telephone
companies can site and erect these masts is, at best, irresponsible. There are insistence of
mobile phone transmitters being erected outside Primary schools. The health and
environment minister once said, If we introduced planning barriers which were too high this
could work against the interests of the economy. Is the government endangering the health
of the public just to accommodate the extremely large and powerful multinational phone
companies? The mobile phone industry has pulled the rug over findings that query the safety
of the worlds 2000 million handsets. What gives the above argument weight is that this
research was commissioned and payed for the industry. The research costs were fifteen
million pounds.

The health is not the only side of the issue that we are dealing with, another danger associated
with the use of mobile phones is that of drivers using them while on the move. The National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a new report on wireless technology in
vehicles. An Investigation of the Safety Implications of Wireless Communications I
vehicles. The report has been hesitant to conclude that the use mobile phones while driving
has caused any increase in the incidence of mobile phones, probably because the report
wanted to play safe. Recently scientific evidence has suggested that eh radiation from the
handsets can cause a temporary memory loss, although there is only a one in five million
chance of this occurring. With the risk being so slight many will choose to dismiss this but
what if this memory loss causes a driver of a car or another vehicle to crash and injure a
family member or friend? For any reason if it is found that the mobile phones are dangerous
in numerous ways will their use be stopped? One classic example, which could provide the
answer for the above question, is the smoking of cigarettes. For many years it has been
widely acknowledged that smoking causes cancer, still many people continue to ignore
Government health warnings and continue to smoke and many more people choose to start
smoking each week. With the mobile phone becoming ever more affordable will the people
who use it stop because it is found to shorten their life expectancy or will the same happen as
happened with cigarette warnings? Many people defiantly will stop using their mobile
phones. Others, particularly those who depend on their mobile phone to communicate with
friends or businesspeople, will not stop? One of the ways that the Government have
attempted to discourage people from smoking is to ban all cigarette advertising. This strategy
could be applied to mobile phones in a way that prohibits mobile phone companies from
targeting the younger generation. The Government could also insist that mobile phone
manufacturers include health-warning leaflets with each phone sold. There is substantial
research backing the claim that the radio signals emitted by mobile communication
equipment present no health risk. Periodic review by numerous government agencies,
international health organizations and scientific bodies support the observation that the radio
signals from mobile phones and other portable communications devices pose no health risk.
The scientific consensus drawn from the weight of evidence accumulated over many years is
clear. There is no evidence that he radio signals generated by mobile phones, transmitting
masts or other portable communications devices pose a health hazard. The above evidence in
my opinion provides a sound basis for concluding that mobile phones are safe.

The advent of mobile phones has squeezed this large world and brought it into the palm of human
being. However mobile phones have always been instigating debates among the people about their
merits and demerits. Apart from the instant access they give us, mobile phones have multipurpose
uses ranging from business work, means for entertainment and ensuring security. On the other
hand, they have some disadvantages like initiating violation of privacy, unnecessary wastage of
money, talking on mobile phones while driving and emission of radiation from the handsets which is
allegedly harmful for health. I would like to argue for the advantages of mobile phones which
outweigh their disadvantages.

The main feature of mobile phones is instant access' which makes them the most exclusive devices
for communication. Now people can make voice or VDO call or send text messages to anyone
anytime from almost anywhere at a cheap rate using mobile phones. Besides this, with the aid of the
latest WAP technology users can surf the internet, send emails and chat with other people at a low
cost (http://www.webuser.co.uk, 24th October, 2007). According to a research released on 13th
February, 2007 from the Mobile Entertainment Forum and Ovum, 20% of UK subscribers search
internet via mobile phones (http://www.3g.co.uk/PR/Feb2007/4267.htm, retrieved 24th October,
2007). It is obvious that the communication has become a lot easier now compared to the pre-
mobile phones period.
Mobile phones are lessening the pressure of the business and office work too. These days, the latest
mobile phones are powered with Microsoft Office application for viewing and editing various types
of files including Word, PDF, and Excel etc easing the office and business work (Markley,
http://EzineArticles.com, retrieved 30th October, 2007). Moreover, in this modern world of
advanced communication loads of business deals are made through mobile phone conferences.
Apart from these, mobile phones are widely used for entertainment replacing number of miniature
gadgets by comprising all their features. Now most of the mobile phones include games, mp3 and
mp4 players, high resolution digital camera, radio etc which are the main attraction of the young
generation. (Gonsalves, 2006, http://www.techweb.com, retrieved 25th October, 2007).
Mobiles phones are also giving their users security to some extent. People can call each other
instantly for help whenever they are in any danger or crisis. Even using GPS navigation technology in
one's mobile phone one can find out his/her way if he/she is lost in the street (about.com, retrieved
26th October, 2007). Thus people tend to feel safe when they are carrying their mobile phone.
On the contrary, mobile phones have some demerits e.g. they violate privacy of people. Some
people misuse their camera phones or voice recording option of phones to take secret pictures or
record conversations which infringe other people's private life.
Another disadvantage of mobile phones is that they instigate wastage of money. Most of the
teenagers now own mobile phones and a lot of them spend hours after hours talking unnecessarily
on phone. This results in the payment of high bills which is a sheer waste of money.
Besides these, mobile phones may cause serious accident if somebody is talking on phone while
driving and unmindful for even a fraction of a second. For instance, in the year 2005, a driver in
Sheffield ran over an 80-year-old pedestrian while talking on mobile phone and was jailed for 2 years
(telegraph.co.uk, retrieved 29th October, 2007).

Recently mobile phones are also accused of emitting radiation which is harmful for health causing
cancer, brain tumours, headaches, sleeping disorders etc (Highfield, 2004, telegraph.co.uk).
Researches are still being undertaken to come to a definite conclusion if there is any possible
impairment by the radiation.
"Research by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland found that microwaves from cell
phone handsets damaged the blood-brain barrier, which prevents materials from the blood entering
the brain. It warned that this might have implications for human health" (Uhlig, 2002,
telegraph.co.uk).
But it does not insinuate that the biological effect may necessarily pose health risk. As Dr Michael
Clarke argues:
"But we need to remember that all sorts of things - tea, caffeine, red wine, sugar - have biological
effects without necessarily damaging health" (telegraph.co.uk, retrieved 31st October, 2007).
However precautionary approach can be taken to avoid any probable risk that may be caused by
mobile phone radiation i.e. using earphones while talking on mobile. Besides this, all the mobile
phone manufacturers are now producing mobiles with a limited SAR (Specific Absorption Ratio) limit
which minimizes the impact of radiation (Markley, http://ezinearticles.com, retrieved 27th October,
2007).
Considering all the merits and demerits, I believe that the advantages of mobile phones outweigh
their disadvantages. At the end of the day, it is we who use the mobile phones the way we want. So
mobile phones should not be blamed for its misuses. They are the perfect emblems of the
advancement of communication technology and play a vital role in this modern world of
globalization. That is why we should ensure their best and most effective uses.

Bibliography

About.com,http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages
&webtag=ab-cellphones&tid=3073, retrieved 26th October, 2007.