The telephone provides remarkable advances in communications. In the 135 year since it was patented it grew so indispensable that negative effects -- such as its indispensability itself -- are clearly visible. Landlines' negative qualities are magnified when by mobile phones and mobile phones create a new set of problems.
If used enough phones become a point of addiction. For example, using a phone can release chemicals in the brain similar to those emitted when a compulsive gambler wins a hand. Fifty-one percent of those polled said they'd have difficulty discontinuing use of their phones, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Cell phone usage is not classified as an addiction, though its popularity continues to increase. Between 2005 and 2007 191 million new people subscribed to cell phone services in the United States alone.
Twenty-eight percent of all traffic accidents result from cell phone usage, according to a 2010 estimated from the National Safety Council. Most result from phone conversations while approximately 7 percent are caused by text messaging, the organization stated. Text messaging bans exist in 19 states. However Louisiana, Washington, New York and Virginia do not allow officers to stop people solely for text messaging while driving. Enforcing cellphone bans is difficult because of the widespread usage of cell phones and lack of public willingness.
A study presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies indicates teenagers with unfettered use of cell phones are more likely to be stressed, fatigued and lose sleep. Its organizers cite peer pressure as a reason why teenagers may intensely focus on connectedness via their phones. Users of phones are often young, so their usage becomes integrated into their overall development. More serious possible consequences include attention and cognitive problems.
Cell phones, due to the radiation they emit, pose a possible cancer risk, according to World Health Organization officials. Cell phones are considered as possibly carcinogenic as chloroform, engine exhaust and lead. The long-term effects of cell phone radiation on humans is unknown because the devices are relatively new as a mass-use item. Studies on children have not yet been performed, though because of thinner craniums and faster cell division, it is possible they are at a higher risk. Radiation exposure is measured by the specific absorption rate which indicates the percentage of a radio frequency absorbed by humans during cell phone use. Phones with the highest specific absorption rates include the Motorola Bravo, Sony Ericsson and Kyocera Jax, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
- Forbes; Cellphone Addiction; Wendy Tanaka et al.; June 2008
- "The Washington Post"; Twenty Eight Percent Of Accidents Involve Cellphones; Ashley Halsey III; January 2010
- Science Daily; Excessive Mobile Phone Use Affects Sleep In Teenagers; June 2008
- CNET; Cell Phone Radiation Levels; Nicole Lee et al; May 2011
- CNN Health; Cell Phone Use Can Increase Possible Cancer Risk; Danielle Dellorto; May 2011