The Effect of Cell Phones


Advances in technology as the necessity to be connected have accelerated proliferation of cell phones across the globe. Currently, there is no doubt that having a cell phone is a necessity (Kavoori & Arceneaux, 2006). Cell phones offer voice calling, text messaging capabilities, entertainment, and internet access anywhere and anytime, ensuring mobility. Despite convenience associated with mobile phones, they have a number of disadvantages that are worth mentioning. Just like other inventions, cell phones have their own downsides, particularly with respect to inappropriate use. A case in point is the hospital setting whereby cell phone usage is known to damage or cause hospital equipment to malfunction. In addition, using a cell phone while driving is equally risky (Kavoori & Arceneaux, 2006). To this end, the goal of this paper is to discuss effects of cell phones with a particular emphasis on their disadvantages.

Distracted Driving

The first disadvantage of cell phones is distracted driving, which is one of the causes of fatal road accidents in the United States. The use of a cell phone while driving is one of the contributors of distracted driving. Statistics indicates that in 2009 distracted driving was responsible for 5,474 deaths, out of which 995 deaths were attributed to distracted driving because of cell phone use in the process (Lee, Champagne, & Francescutti, 2013). The underlying inference from these statistics is that distracted driving is related to cell phone use while driving, which has been identified as a contributor to the increasing number of fatal accidents in the USA. In addition, cell usage while driving increases the risk of inattention while operating a vehicle. Scientific research has established that listening and speaking on the mobile phone hampers one’s ability to drive safely. For instance, Brace, Young, and Regan (2007) point out that that using the cell phone while driving has a significant impact on driving performance measures that are crucial for safe driving. This is because using cell phones while driving diverts attention of drivers and, at the same time, increases the likelihood of crashing the vehicle by four times. Some driving performance aspects that are impaired by using the cell phone while driving include driver’s reaction times, decision-making, and visual search patterns (Lee, Champagne, & Francescutti, 2013).

Health Impacts of Cell Phones

There are concerns that mobile phones are capable of causing particular cancer types. These concerns are attributed to the fact the number of cell phone users is rapidly increasing. Globally, it is estimated that there are about 5 billion mobile phone users. In addition, the number of calls made on a daily basis, the duration of each call, and the number of people using cell phones are consistently increasing (Repacholi, 2001). Mobile phones release radio frequency radiations, albeit in low levels. Large amounts of radio frequency radiation are capable of damaging tissues, particularly those tissues located in regions where there is insufficient blood flow such as around testicles and eyes. A number of scientific studies have explored likely health impacts associated with radiation from cell phones. According to Repacholi (2001), the amount of radio frequency radiation exposure is determined by a number of factors, including technology used in the phone, distance between the user and mobile phone towers, the extent of phone use, the manner in which the phone is used, and distance between the user and the mobile phone’s antenna. Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that there are no consistent findings between the usage of cell phones and cancers in nerves and brain, as well as in tissues found in neck and head. Repacholi (2001) points out a need for more research because of the ever changing mobile phone technology and the manner people use mobile phones.

Environmental Impacts of Mobile Phones

Electronic companies, including mobile phone manufacturers have the responsibility of reducing greenhouse gases emissions, cleaning up their products through removal of hazardous substances, taking back and recycling their products after they become outdated, and stopping usage of unsustainable raw materials when making and packaging their products (Geyer & Blass, 2010). A significant proportion of the carbon footprint caused by electronics stems from the manufacturing process. Huge amounts of carbon are used when manufacturing smart phones rather than after purchasing them. It is estimated that the process of making an ordinary mobile phone emits about 16 kilograms of carbon dioxide. In addition, an ordinary phone has a life of about two years, during which it emits 6 kilograms of carbon dioxide (Geyer & Blass, 2010). Nevertheless, this does not involve the carbon footprint of energy that is utilized in transmission of calls, which is estimated to be 3 times higher than previous figures, implying that carbon emissions associated with a cell phone amount to about 94 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Moreover, cell phones release toxic materials and chemicals after their disposal. As a result, failing to recycle cell phones means that these dangerous chemicals may end up in landfills, which are currently overloaded (Geyer & Blass, 2010).

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