The cell phone innovated in the 18th century is among the most prolific inventions that history has known. The utility of cell phones has become popular and most people are using it in every aspect of their daily life. Today the cell phone also referred to as the mobile phone is not just an item of opulence but is also a fundamental need. Cell phones are such a necessity that many people admit to using them even in their washrooms. The main purpose of the cell phone was initially to help people staying far away to keep in touch. In the past few years, they have managed to create technology that allows people to surf the internet, email and even make video calls. Moreover, many other options have been included in the cellular phones that make our life easier.
Global mobile phone subscriptions have tremendously stemmed to reach 6 billion, a figure that accounts for 70% of the world’s population. Usage of mobile phones has continued to increase dramatically more especially when their prices became fair and going by the fact that they have been availed all over the globe. In advanced nations like the US, about 90% of their population use mobile phones and a significant number of them being college and school going students. In India, the scenario is not any different from the entire population, literate or illiterate, from urban or rural areas, from all ages now depend on their cellular phones. Cell phones are increasingly being applied all over the world. “In India, last decade has witnessed extensive networking of mobile phones in rural area.” (Bangal, et al. 5459). This paper, therefore, seeks to describe how cellular phones have helped to improve people’s health, their contribution to the growth of the economy, their role in the education sector, the challenges that they have initiated as well as the recommendation to the pinpointed challenges.
With the invention of the mobile phone, more especially the smartphones access to information has been made better as well as enhanced communication with individuals living all over the world. Cellular phones have enabled many nations more so the developing countries to bypass the use of wired communication services and thus form part of the information economy. A perfect example is the MPESA money transfer mode used in Kenya.
Mobile payments have transformed the safety, economy, and livelihoods of millions of Kenyans. Launched by Safaricom (Kenya’s main telecom operator) in March 2007, M-PESA is an SMS-based money transfer service–M for mobile, pesa for “money” in Swahili. By January 2010, 17,000 agents facilitated transfers for nine million users, some 40 percent of Kenyan adults. (Chu and Julie 1).
The use of cellular phones in collaboration with the Mhealth initiates has provided great promise to improve the health of individuals that dwell in developing countries. “: The rapid escalation of cellular network coverage and expansion of mobile phone usage has opened up a new way of deploying health services.” The mobile app with message facilities helps in imparting health education regarding nutrition, iron and folic acid prophylaxis, tetanus toxoid immunization, danger symptoms and signs during pregnancy” (Bangal et al.) The services provided under this Mhealth initiatives include educating the health professionals, providing health education and medical imaging. Mobile devices have also been used to enhance better maternal outcomes under the community health initiatives. The other significant contribution that cell phones have endorsed is to stimulate economic growth of a country.
Moreover, the relationship between uptake of ICT, gross domestic product and income has been proven to be cyclical in that improvement in the amount of income earned would make people buy cellular phones and thus new business supported by cellular phones that discourse the demand of specific products or goods emerge. Research has shown that farmers have used cell phones to look for better markets for their goods. This helps to cut traveling costs that the farmers would have incurred suppose they traveled to these markets. “ When mobile phone penetration is high, coverage bias is reduced: experimental data from four African countries suggest that as mobile phone ownership increases, data obtained through mobile phone surveys increasingly approximates data obtained via household surveys “( L’Engle, et al. 2). By cutting down on these costs, the use of cellular phones has thus been implicated in increasing the efficiency of these markets. To add to that, such efficiencies would bring cumulative effects such as increasing the general income of the community as numerous people in the community benefit from the income accrued by this new businesses or jobs. This would further trigger more investment in infrastructure availing more internet and computer technologies improving access to households, farmers and businesses that use these technologies access needed resources as they deem. In other parts of the globe, the use of cellular phones has also stirred dramatic social revolutions.
The United States is experiencing a dramatic social revolution currently. The revolution is about integrating cellular phones into the daily lives of both students and educators. It is a relief that some researchers have begun to seek ways to integrate the use of cell phones in the learning and teaching environment. For instance, in a study Robinson et al. concluded that “While many prefer traditional paper texts, a growing segment find newer technologies to be more engaging, making this goal a “moving target.”(107). Despite cellular phones impacting positive change in the society, some negative impacts have also been attributed to the bad use of cellular phones.
Consequently, most current cellular smartphones are really expensive though their lifespan is short. New cellular smartphones and with the most updated features are flooding the market making people want always to want to acquire the current market arrivals. This makes it costly. Paying for service costs is also additionally expensive; users are required to pay for every minute they use as talk time, internet bundles used and other extra application that the user needs. The use of cellular phones is also addictive that people cannot demarcate when to and when not to use their mobile phones. Now that people have been made to feel like they need their phones all the time, they have been tempted to use it even while driving a leading cause of many fatal accidents. Indeed every aspect of technology has a setback just as cell phones do: addiction, distracters, costly and health side effects.
Again, now that cellar phones exist people prefer to talk on the phone rather than meet physically leading to isolations. People have also embraced disrespect by engaging on phones while at church, class or other important gatherings.
The use of cellular smartphones is not as expensive as alleged comparing with the cost that people could have endured in traveling over long distances. Recent phones which are being released to the market are able to take up the current updates to help minimize the costs of having to acquire new gadgets often. Additionally, the issue of service charges is manageable when compared to the costs of physical face to face meetings. In a study Gahlot et al. concluded that:
This study found that most of the students were using smartphones and they spent 200-500 monthly and mainly they used mobile phones for <2 hrs./day. Internet and music were the favourite features amongst them. Most of the time they talk to the family members and friends. Most of them know that mobile use hampers studies and cause road accidents, but in spite of that very few of them were aware of the protective measures. Restricted use of mobile, low battery and no signal leads to restlessness amongst maximum of the students. Lack of concentration, sleep disturbance and headache were the common side effects experienced by participants. (2526)
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Therefore, the issue of cellular phones acting as distractors is a matter that requires self-discipline. The advantages of applying cell phones outweigh the side effects and as well the side effects can be manageable.
In conclusion, cell phones were crafted to make the life of man easy by enhancing communication. Every aspect of life that has a bright side has got its dark side too. Similarly, cell phones too have their merits and demerits. The merits though are many and thus outweigh the disadvantages of using cellular phones. The merits of enhancing easier and faster communication, allowing for multitasking are more powerful than demerits like dependency, cost and bad social effects which can be easily avoided through the responsible use of the cell phone. Mobile has provided a multitasking ability that was non-existent in the past. People have the capacity to search the web, to send text messages, takes photos, take videos, listen to music and also watch live proceedings. It is really amazing how the cellular phones have created immense possibilities, the future of mobile phones is glaring. Even by evaluating on how rigorous cell phone developments take place and how fast new features are added, it’s really an issue that deserves thumb ups. I believe that cellular phones will keep on upgrading to keep abreast with the changing world that we dwell in and that they will be made in a manner that will make them more flexible.
- Bangal, Vidyadhar B., et al. “Use of mobile phone for improvement in maternal health: a randomized control trial.” International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 6, no. 12, 2017, p. 5458+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A534839109/AONE?u=txshracd2512&sid=AONE&xid=044cce91. Accessed 4 July 2018.
- Chu, Samantha, and Julie Mellin. “Map room: Kenya: phoning it in.” World Policy Journal, vol. 28, no. 3, 2011, p. 8+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A268961521/AONE?u=txshracd2512&sid=AONE&xid=0caa651e. Accessed 4 July 2018
- Gahlot, Anju, et al. “Pattern of mobile phone use and its effect among medical students.” Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences, vol. 5, no. 41, 2016, p. 2524+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A470367369/AONE?u=txshracd2512&sid=AONE&xid=29edbb9e. Accessed 4 July 2018.
- L’Engle, Kelly, et al. “Survey research with a random digit dial national mobile phone sample in Ghana: Methods and sample quality.” PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 1, 2018, p. e0190902. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A523860172/AONE?u=txshracd2512&sid=AONE&xid=a7a758a4. Accessed 4 July 2018.
- Robinson, Sherry, and Hans Anton Stubberud. “Student preferences for educational materials: old meets new.” Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, vol. 16, no. S1, 2012, p. S99+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A322780941/AONE?u=txshracd2512&sid=AONE&xid=b4895066. Accessed 4 July 2018.