New inventions have always changed society not only technically, but socially. The introduction of cellular phones is no different. These recent gadgets have found its way into our everyday lives. We carry it around, keeping it close to us in case we miss an important call or just any call. We feel safer with it on us, we can connect with people even while we are driving down an empty road. But, what else shows that cellular phones
have affected us socially/cullturally?
- A simple Google search of the phrase "Cell phone etiquette turns up about 168,000 hits of site after site explaining the proper way to use cell phones in public, published books focued on how to behave with your cellular phone, and it goes on and on. If there is a right way
to use your cell phone, there is a wrong way. When a new technology has the power to direct the way humans should or should not behanve, there is a definite cultural impact
- Above, the picture of a car is by a camera phone. The photo was taken by a boy who escaped an alleged captor who was trying to lure him into his car. The man was arrested later thanks to the picture that showed the car and its license plate.
- According to anthropologists hired by a Baltimore company, Context, Americans are "routinely late" now that they can warn the other party of their tardiness and can easily set up another time on their cell phones without leaving the other line waiting.
- The same study reveals that in South America, the introduction of cell phones have made them more aware of prompness than the past leniency would have demanded. Why? The study does not specify but it could be that all the features many cell phones now come equipped with (calendars, alarms, clocks) gives them no excuse to be late.
- Many professors now demand that all cell phones be turned off at the beginning at class since past experience has led to disrupting calls ringing throughout the lecture hall.
- Lowell High School of San Francisco has made a rule that students should not be carrying cell phones around to class unless they have written permission from their parents. This would not have come up unless it has been a problem before.
-Cell phones equipped with a camera has caused many disturbing problems. "Digital shoplifting" is one of them. Bookstores have trouble with people taking pictures of pages without buying the book. Another more alarming problem is that people have been using the cameras to take pictures up women's skirt or in the restrooms or locker rooms. It has caused so much trouble that certain sports locker rooms have banned cell phones. In a particularly horrible story, a camera phone was used to take nude pictures of a rape victim, the photos as blackmail to keep the woman quiet.
Cellular phones may not affect different cultures the same way, but it is obvious that it clearly changes the behavior patterns of societies. Story after story of cell phone abuse causes people to become more careful around these areas and more aware of their surroundings. This could be a wise move but I see it as another addition to the many things to be paranoid about in this world.