Sometimes, the mobile users are so grossly engrossed in their talk that they forget the world, much to the annoyance of those who are around them.

What is amazing is the extensive use of the mobile/cellphone all over the world. A report suggests that 1,000 new users are being added every minute globally. We in India have an impressive growth rate. It is claimed that about 4 million subscribers jump on the mobile users' bandwagon every month.

Flaunting a mobile telephone is no longer a status symbol. The ubiquitous shiny device has been lapped up by practically every member of our society, cutting across religion, caste, gender and income groups — domestic help, hawkers, plumbers, doctors, homemakers, teachers, students, journalists, engineers, lawyers, et al.

For some users, there is no life without a mobile phone. They take it wherever they go, including the morning or evening constitutional. During a train or bus journey, one encounters chatters of various phone users. Ringing tones, with options such as the call of a cuckoo or the cry of a baby, and other bizarre tones, could be very disturbing.

Extra buck

For a few mobile users, “Time is money” and they would like to use a mobile phone to make that extra buck. We encountered a doctor who, while examining a patient, got a call on his cell. Without even uttering an excuse, he went out for another consultation, while the patient was cooling her heels in the doctor's chair, only to return after an hour. Sometimes, the mobile users are so grossly engrossed in their talk that they forget the world, much to the annoyance of those who are around them. Such (ill) ‘manners' are certainly annoying, to say the least. Though there are regulations about the restrictions on the use of cellphones in banks, public offices, concerts and others places, these are followed more in the breach than the observance.

There is some concern at the radiation and other effects on human beings with prolonged use of mobile phones, especially by young children. There is a code of conduct in the advanced countries that advertisements for mobile phones do not target children. No such code appears to be in place in our country's industry. The government too has kept its hands off this controversy. However, it would be advisable that children do not use mobile phones for too long.

Those who use gadgets, with all sorts of the latest technology, could easily surf the Internet that contains information and websites not in the interest of children. Also, traffic rules prohibit the use of mobile cell phones while driving. Again, due to the indifferent enforcement of the rule, drivers are exposing themselves as well as others to danger. The long-term ill-effects of using the fingers for prolonged SMS should be kept in mind.

Like any technological invention, the mobile phone has its uses and misuses. No one can deny the fact that a mobile phone is exactly what the doctor ordered in an emergency. The ability to connect with anyone anywhere with a cellphone 24x7 is remarkable. Of late, the mobile phone has come into the limelight and it is being put to use for illegal operations — terrorist attacks, extortions, kidnapping and sex and drug rackets.

Code essential

There has to be a code of conduct for the use of cellphone that has almost become part of a person's daily life these days. Proliferation of mobile phone use cannot be prevented when the gadget is becoming cheaper and coming with more and more added features while the costs are coming down year after year. Moreover, the service providers are bending over backwards to woo more customers and retain the existing ones. They are offering services, which are ‘irresistible'.

Obsolescence and with that the problem of waste management of old and discarded handsets are issues that need to be tackled urgently. The service providers should be made to ‘buy back' old sets for recycling.

While the technology of cellphones is improving regularly, we need to inculcate in the users a sense of responsibility. Children and teenagers should be advised by parents and teachers to use the mobile sparingly.

Stricter check

It is no more a fashion to go on SMS for thrills to friends. A stricter check with verification of the personal details of the persons who apply for cell phones should be done before issuing a pre-paid or post-paid mobile connection. In case of any crime connected with the mobile users, the service providers should volunteer to cooperate with the law enforcement authorities to help in nabbing the culprits.

(The writer's email ID is: dbnvimi@gmail.com)

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