Taj Nabi Khan
The cell phone was looked upon as a status symbol for the privileged few when it first appeared on the scene in the early 1990s. Nearly a quarter century on, it has become so commonplace a phenomenon even in a developing country like ours that no living and breathing human being can be imagined not owning a cell device, except perhaps for a few house-wives. On the other hand, the widespread use of mobile phone is also not devoid of a negative impact especially for the youth, keeping them from full concentration on their studies and jobs, also posing sometimes serious traffic and health hazards.
On the one hand, communication technology has turned the world into a global village by linking far-flung areas and connecting people beyond cultural divides and geographical boundaries, while on the other it is also becoming a growing addiction among the youth and teenagers. The unnecessary use, rather misuse, of mobile phone is not only giving rise to psychological disorders and mental anxiety but also affecting eye-sight and hearing ability of the users.
Most of the young people daily spend much of their time using mobile phones. The misuse of the device had adverse effects on teenagers’ personalities, who tend to neglect important activities including jobs and studies besides drifting away from close family circle. There is no time for switching off the phone – day and night busy and playing with phone has also disturbed the sleeping hours, duration and eating habits among the new generation. The excessive use of mobile phone for talking and listening loud music on headphone while charging is dangerous for the users. The youth and school going children in particular were obsessed with the device, and had become habitual of using mobile phone all the time, whether it was the last thing before falling asleep or the first after waking up in the morning.
The unnecessary use of mobile phone had really affected studies and book reading habits among the youth. Mobile phone has also become health hazard as adverse consequences are associated with its use especially while driving — hand-held or free. The drivers use mobile phone both in public and private transport is posing serious threats to theirs and others lives. Some people are of the views that blanket ban should be imposed on the use of mobile phone within the premises of or within the certain limits outside of schools and colleges as mobile phone was affecting study and reading habits of the students.
The misuse of low-priced night and Short Message Service (SMS) packages had also played havoc with study, sleeping timings, eating habits, socialization, and career building of students. Recently several road accidents have been reported on highways of the country due to either texting or talking on mobile phones while driving. It has also been witnessed that the cyclists and motorcyclists also use mobile phones for texting and talking while controlling the vehicle single- handedly on the roads. The use of the device during driving causes physical, visual, auditory and cognitive distractions of the drivers from the road and traffic. But it has often been observed vehicle-drivers and motorcyclists unabashedly using cell phones with traffic wardens looking on as mere spectators.
Anything that can produce pleasure in brain has the potential of becoming an addiction”, and the use of smart-phone has become a leading addiction among the youth, without which, they usually remained under the feelings of anxiety. No doubt, mobile phone has become a necessity in daily life and its advantages could not be negated, but there is a need to avoid its misuse.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.