Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4.1 Billion Distractions – Cell Phones Taking Over the World

A UN report revealed that 4.1 billion people in the world have cell phone subscriptions.  That’s 60% of the world.  And since 2004, the number of subscribers has doubled. 

A 2004 report from the U.S Census Bureau showed that 159 million residents were cell phone subscribers.  At the growth rate of worldwide subscribers, every American should have a cell phone, even the 25% who are under the age of 13.

That’s probably not too far-fetched of an idea.  Kids are owning cell phones at younger and younger ages.  I know a 6th grader who just got a cell phone for his birthday (and unrelated - an 11th grader who sent/received over 12,000 texts, and a Sunday School attendee who texts throughout the lesson).

There have been murmurs about the negative effects of cell phones/PDA’s/Smartphones  (and internet use) on the human brain among various news outlets (NY Times, Atlantic, Seed).  Hearty research is usually always cited, and tends to lean toward the conclusion that when used improperly, wireless devices can lead to lack of creativity, increased distraction, and lower work efficiency.

One ‘surface’ article written by Sharon Begley, Will the Blackberry Sink the Presidency? (which really isn’t about Obama), concludes that if used correctly, a Crackberry is a fine piece of technology and the more self confident you are, the less you will have cognitive lapses.

Used correctly?  The user, or the person the user is with?  Maybe said person just needs to be a good multi-tasker with the ability to easily shift focus from one thing to the other.  But, it bothers me when someone pulls out a cell phone to take a call or to text, especially if we are involved in an interesting discussion.   I’ll loose interest, and probably leave.

Maybe this person is a great at multi-focusing, but should they consider the other person, or other people around?  What if the other person isn’t good at multi-tasking?

Is this a personal pride thing for me, personally?  Do I think ‘How dare they interrupt the time that they are spending with ME?’  No, that’s not it.  I just think it’s disrespectful (although, at times warranted).

Now we have the potential for 4.1 billion disrespectful people. 


And that’s just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to this little pet peeve of mine.  I guess I'll have to learn to deal with it.


Mary Trollinger said...

That's one thing I have found I like about living in Europe right now - I don't use my cell phone unless it's an "emergency," and it's so much better that way. There really are less distractions throughout my day!

Hannah said...

Um...what's a Crackberry?