Are Cell Phones Necessary?

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Are Cell Phones Necessary?

Sifting through his latest screenplay on the way to class, Geoff Yetter ignores the muffled sound of a computer-generated rendition of Johan Pachelbel’s Canon in D coming from inside his book bag.

“Porcupined onions,” he curses to himself. “I’ll call them back when I’m free.”

Yetter, a senior film and video studies major at the University of Oklahoma, said that although he has a cell phone, it is only because he considers them to be a “necessary evil.”

“At the risk of coming off as one of those ‘hippie’ types, I truly see a cell phone as a leash that ties you to a world that man shouldn't belong to,” he said. “No matter how much one tries, you can never escape anyone if you have a cell phone.”

Over 110 million Americans own a cell phone, according to a study done by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). With an average of 46,000 new subscribers every day, CTIA experts project that in 2005 there will be over 1.25 billion cell phone users worldwide.

Increasing numbers of college students are abandoning landlines in lieu of simply using their cell phones as their only contact number, said an Oct. 10, 2004 Wesleyan Argus article on the drop in dorm phone subscription rates at Wesleyan University. The article calls the drop so significant that landlines on campus “seem anachronistic.”

In a school like Northeastern University,a fast-paced, career-driven school in a major metropolitan area, having a cell phone is almost a necessity for students.

While there are many factors to consider when deciding to purchase a cell phone – convenience, price, minute plan, clarity of service, when it will be used, health risks– it comes down to a simple necessity of a convenience for most people, said the Argus article.

“I have my cell phone to keep in touch with friends and family from home,” said Kirsten Baxter, a junior mechanical engineering major at Northeastern University. “My family lives on the West Coast so it would be long distance on a regular phone so I (set up) a cell phone plan with nationwide minutes.”

Having a cell phone also makes more sense for her as a college student because with a landline she might have to set up a new number every time she moves in addition to it being obviously less portable, she said.

Many newer cell phone models are multimedia devices with “telephone” merely being one of the features.
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