Saturday September 15, 2012
Life seems to revolve around mobile phones
By LEONG HUNG YEE
ARE you as attached to your mobile phone as your body is to your arms? I'm not sure about you but I discovered I had an unhealthy attachment to my cell phone. I can't keep it away!
I was out with friends over the weekend and I realised that every one of us had our smartphones on the table, checking them constantly while we're supposed to be catching up with each other.
One might wonder what happened to face to face interaction without wondering if you received an email or Facebook notification. There was also moment when we were so engrossed with our smartphones that we were not talking to each other.
The scenario is not exactly unique. There's growing trend on how people are getting obsessed with their mobile phone and are not communicating face to face anymore.
The Star recently reported how unhealthy and exposed mobile users are to various risks when they use their mobile devices while crossing the road, using the stairs or walking alone.
The mobile phone obsession or distraction has even prompted some states in the United States to consider laws to stop pedestrians from using mobile phones, headphones or other electronic devices which can cause distraction while crossing streets after 1,152 people were injured last year when walking and using electronic devices.
Locally, Under Section 17A (1) of The Road Transport Act, motorists are liable to a fine of RM300 if caught using a cell phone while driving. Traffic authorities recently warned against the dangerous trend of motorists being on Facebook, Twitter or even uploading photos while driving.
In a recent YouTube video depicting Malaysian drivers, one scene showed how the driver threw his mobile phone on the passenger seat upon seeing a traffic policeman on duty. At the same time, the driver shouted “Police! Police!” to the person at the other end of the line. While we laughed at the scene, it's all too familiar to many of us.
My boring qwerty keypad smartphone does not stop me from obsessive habits such as repetitive checks of instant messages on WhatsApp, emails, posting pictures of various foods on social networks and using other applications. These checks typically last less than a minute and I will pause for a while before the my routine inspection begins again. This habit is common and very hard to be rid off. Sometimes, we don't even realise that we're doing it.
It's like a small jolt each time you get a message on your phone. An addiction in a way. Once you become accustomed to notifications from your phone, you won't be reaching out for the phone as often as you used to when you just got your device.
While I make sure I have my phone with me whenever I leave the house, I have outgrown the phase where I reach for my phone the moment it beeps.
A couple of years ago, I was robbed but my phone was safe because I was using it when the thieves ran away with my bag. We have come to a point where we reached out for our phone more than our bag.
Some say mobile phones ruin our social interaction. I think it is an opinion. I have seen how it has enriched me. I have group chats with siblings, friends and colleagues and we update each other on what we are thinking and doing. In such instances, we can exchange instant messages and pictures among ourselves.
It's just social evolution. With the iPhone 5 now launched, we'll be seeing long queues again of people trying to get the latest phone from Apple.
I believe it's a borderline addiction for me. Mental note to self. Get off your phone!