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Culture and Social Impact of Mobile Technology

written by: Baby Rani•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/31/2008

Mobile phones have heralded a new era of impersonal and instant communication; the usual modes of communication have undergone a complete refurbishment because of mobile technology. Though mobile phones connect us, they have contributed to the creation of a world of introversion and isolation.

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    The mobile phone has pervaded every nook and corner of our planet – irrespective of geographical location, color, race, creed, linguistic or cultural divides. The mobile phone has permeated all of our lives so deeply that it is being referred to today as a third limb, with people experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they are without their precious gadgets for even a short while.

    Pros:

    Mobile technology has led to the creation of the ‘Always-On’ or ‘24/7/365’ society. Anyone is reachable any time of day or night through their cell phones. Mobile technology has without doubt shrunken the whole world palm-size, and taken communication to a never seen before level of reach and ease. Mobile phones have made it possible for us to be in touch with our loved ones and friends at all times, to communicate with everyone with incredible ease and to get timely help in emergency situations, such as being lost alone in a remote place or when missing a bus or train.

    Mobile phones have had far-reaching effects on our social behavior and cultural progression. The ease with which they enable us to communicate with each other has led to a decrease in face-to-face meetings and real one-to-one physical human interaction. Those that grow up getting used to impersonal communication on their mobile phones can find themselves incapable of dealing with even simple day-to-day human interaction.

    The use of mobile technology has had a major effect on another aspect of our daily behavior – time keeping. Socially, it is not acceptable to arrive at a personal or professional engagement very late. Before the advent of cell phones, we had no way of letting people know if we are delayed due to unavoidable circumstances such as traffic jams or buses/trains not arriving on time. Mobile phones have provided a way to provide constant updating of our status to concerned individuals.

    Cons:

    Mobile technology along with the Internet has led to the development of a generation who are in many cases severely introverted, preferring their own company most of the time, glued to their computers, mobile phones and every other imaginable gadget.

    The use of mobile phones has also led to irresponsible and highly risky behavior in the form of talking on the phone while driving. Since the attention of the driver is on the phone conversation instead of the road, there is an increased risk of accidents. Though there are laws in most countries against talking on the phone while driving, a cursory glance on a busy street will give ample examples of people who flout this law.

    The phenomenon that is SMS (Short Messaging Service) has redefined the way we communicate with each other. Without any need for emotion or vocalizing one’s thoughts and feelings, all that it takes for the youth of today to communicate with each other is a few words typed out at blazing speeds and sent to one or many recipients. Not only has this SMS technology made communication extremely impersonal, it has had a major impact on the written form of the English language, and any other language for that matter.






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