Mobile phones are one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Mobile phones have made an enormous contribution to global development. They are a simple and comfortable means of communication. Due to their effectiveness, they have come to be referred to as life savers (Indunair, 2012). Mobile telephony offers numerous advantages: enhanced personal security, added convenience as well as the aptitude to carry out instant business. Nonetheless, it has its thorns. Mobile telephony has raised health and safety, environmental as well as social concerns.
Mobile phones have given us the power to communicate wirelessly hence reducing the time and cost of communication over short and long distances. They enable us to take pictures, videos, play games and listen to music keeping us entertained. Mobile phones have led to infrastructure development, improvement of the public sector, and development of better business practices.
Availability of text messaging services has enabled us to make non-voice communication at very low cost and in a short time especially when sending the same message to different people. In emergencies, mobile phones come in handy as they are used to call for assistance during car malfunctions, breakdowns, and landslides.
Electromagnetic waves produced by mobile phones alter the electric activity of the brain and cause disturbance in sleep. They also cause difficulty in concentration, fatigue, headaches, and increased reaction time in a time-dependent manner. These waves increase the resting pressure of the blood and diminish the production of melatonin in the body. They are also implicated in DNA strand breaks hence causing genetic malfunctions (Indunair, 2012).
Radiations from mobile phones damage the key brain cells associated with movement, learning, and memory. Further studies have linked mobile phones to mouth cancer, brain cancer, and leukemia. With increase in the popularity of mobile phones and text messages, face-to-face interaction and physical communication has been substituted. In fact, some individuals are using mobile phones as a tool in conducting their personal relationships. In that regard, it has been noted that despite the increase in the quantity of communication via the anytime-anywhere functionality of mobile phones, it has reduced the qualitative aspect of communication (Srivastava, 2005).
With the invention of mobile phones, crime has been on the rise owing to the ease of communication among gang members. It has also led to bullying over text messages and phone calls. Ransom asked for over phone has also taken uplift as it is also to be paid over mobile phones.
Undoubtedly, mobile phones also have social effects. Without a doubt, poor mobile etiquette is the world’s contemporary collective gripe. The intrusive nature of mobile phones prompted a New York Times columnist to denounce mobile technology as the real Y2K virus. Consequently, most cellular operators and leading vendors are taking initiative to encourage more socially acceptable uses of mobile phones. Such steps include the production of manuals and etiquette booklets. They are also using advertisements to foster education on the polite use of mobile phones.
Clearly, the responsible use of mobile phones lies in the hands of all: operators, users, the government, and even researchers. With a tad of effort on the part of every person, the benefits of mobile connectivity should enhance our experiences of life, avail more freedom, and in the ultimate, create a society where people truly feel closer together.