Saturday, February 12, 2011

Term Paper on Cellular Technology

Cellular Technology Research Paper

Roughly 15 years ago a new product emerged onto the market. American consumers could now purchase and use telephones that would travel with them in their automobiles. However, these inventions were large, bulky, the size of a briefcase, and weighed roughly 10 pounds. Modern day Americans have found a place in their everyday lives for this once jaw-dropping invention. Americans have also demanded, and received, adjustments to these mobile telephones. Today it is possible to purchase mobile phones that are hardly the size of one’s palm for an extremely low cost to the consumer. The recent surge in use of cellular phones has changed the way most Americans communicate. Conversely the internet has done the same. However, cell phones have grown at a much more exponential rate and have become the absolute necessity for many people. Cell phones have had a sociological impact unparalleled by any technological innovation before them. Cell phones have been at the center of controversy and skepticism, but they have also been praised for usefulness and their inevitability. This technology has been focused upon as being the source of brain cancer, car accident, attention deficit disorder, and migraines. However it has also proven to be the tool of the most successful people in the business world. The thesis this paper proposes is that cell phones have had a negative social impact but are still quite inevitable.


Once a luxury for the wealthy and powerful, cell phones have now become an absolute necessity for the masses. In 1990 there were an estimated 5 million cell phone subscribers in the United States, by 1997 the number had reached 70 million (Riverdeep). As of July 2002, 46% of Americans owned a cell phone (Forbes). How has this fantastic new technology affected the everyday American? As the numbers sky-rocket, Americans are becoming less and less concerned with the social world in front of them, and more concerned with the person on the other end of the phone. “Throughout human history, “talk” meant face-to-face communication. The invention of writing allowed people who were far apart to “talk” to one another - and leave a record of what they “said”. The invention of the printing press in 1436 multiplied the power of “long distance talk”. As it did so, it transformed religion and politics.” (Henslin 172) Time and time again, face-to-face conversations are interrupted and put on hold when that familiar chime sounds and the phone must be answered. The conversation at hand is no longer the priority, now, the priority is the caller interrupting the conversation. With the invention of the cell phone, no one is out of touch, anytime, anywhere, a cell phone may ring or vibrate. Students’ phones ring in class, in the movies, or in the middle of the night. As soon as they walk out of the classroom phones appear in their hands as they check for missed calls and messages. The social ties of classmates and new acquaintances are being shrugged aside as the cell phone allows users to walk out outside and instantly be in contact with a friend or relative. Why sit and chat with a classmate or someone you’ve just met when your phone shows you’ve missed a call, someone you know has tried to contact you and you’ve got to get back to them. Cell phone usage has grown exponentially, and will only continue to do so, as new features and smaller phones become available, the desirability and draw of cellular technology will only grow. And with this growth comes the decline of face to face social interactions.

Twenty years ago at the University of Texas students would chatter away between classes, on their way to lunch, or home. In recent history this trend is drastically changing. Students are no longer having face-to-face conversation between classes as much as their predecessors. For this assignment we designed an observational experiment that would support our hypothesis of increases cell phone use, and decreased personal interaction. The design of our experiment was thus, we were going to sit and count the students that passed by us at the South Mall between classes. We then allocated students to two groups; those using cellular phone, and those who were not. During three ten minute periods between classes in an observation of student cell phone usage on campus in the South Mall, 453 out of 1611 were observed to be talking on a cellular phone. From 10:50 - 11:00 am 541 students were observed in the South Mall, of these 541 students, 143 were observed using a cell phone. From 11:50am - 12:00 pm, 109 of the 487 students seen were utilizing a cell phone. During the break from 12:50 - 1:00 pm the highest observations of 201 out of 583 were recorded. These observations strengthen the suggestion that as soon as students are released from class, they get out their cell phones. Direct social interactions are losing their importance in light of the availability of direct and instantaneous contact with a “preferred” friend or relative via cell phone. This trend is not limited to college campuses. A nationwide-trend has caught fire in America. From shopping malls, to movie theaters, and even to churches, cell phones are in constant use by all members of the United States population. As researched by, it was found that there were over eighty-three million cellular phone subscribers in the United States alone (Edmunds 2003).

Since the increase of the use of cell phone, there has been a corresponding amount of complaints and problems with their use. One particularly concerning effect of the use of cell phones is their distractive capability. People who are using cell phones are not often using hands-free devices and are potential threats behind the wheel of a car. Edmunds (2003) estimates that nearly 50% of the “cell-phone” ages’ car accidents are caused by motorists who are distracted by the use of their cell phones (Edmunds 2003). This statistical is second only to drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. It is not a mystery why many states have recently passed legislation banning the use of non-hands-free phones while driving. The sociological impact of these accidents is phenomenal. People are deeply divided about the topic of cell phone use in their automobiles. Some cite that we live in a “free country”, while the other side cites the importance of safety and consideration for others. No matter what side is taken, cell phones pose a potential threat when in the hands of a driver.

There are other issues concerning the safety of cell phone. In particular there are recent scientific discoveries that accuse cell phones as the epidemiological factor of many health problems. The health problems that cell phones are causing are as diverse and widespread as the group that is utilizing them. Cell phones have been scientifically linked to the following; brain cancer, tumors, hearing loss, ringing ears, migraines, attention deficit disorder, joint pain, and chronic fatigue. The sociological impact of these disorders need not be discussed. Cell phones are clearly causing problems amongst perfectly healthy people who are unsuspecting of their dangers. Psychologist Robert Riedlinger argues that children of the cell phone era are likely to suffer from these previously stated illnesses as adults, and that they will be improperly diagnosed as psychotics (New Media Explorer 2003). This suggests that people of our generation may very well be causing their own deaths, not from smoking, drugs, or alcohol, but from talking on the phone. The impact on society that could be faced if an entire aging generation began to fall victim to the illnesses that can be caused by cell phone would be unimaginable. Rather than cancer, heart failure, or other typical diseases people would die from the use of cellular telephones. Imagine that, cell phones could be the next cigarette. Their invention, and intention, were both good hearted in nature. However both have lasting health effects from prolonged use, or should we say...addiction?

According to statistics cited earlier in this paper, one half of the United States population owns a cell phone. For years, radio frequency emissions have been regarded as dangerous and workers in broadcasting, aviation, and similar fields generally try to avoid prolonged exposure to transmitting antennas (Consumer Affairs 2003). If half of the people one encounters in their day to day lives is carrying a cell phone, or using it, there are hundreds if not thousands of daily exposures to radio waves of similar frequencies to those thought to pose health threatening affects. Stating that only half of the people one encounters daily carries a cell phone is offering a generous understatement. In urban areas especially, odds are far more likely that everyone one encounters is carrying a cell phone. In the observational experiment carried out for this paper, where one-third of the students observed were on their cell phone, the other two-thirds not using a cell phone were being exposed as well. While early cell phones were mounted inside cars and the antennas were as far as 5 feet from the user, today’s cell phones are hand held and place the antenna directly against the skull, putting the radio waves directly into the brain dramatically increasing the suggested level of risk to cell phone users (Consumer Affairs 2003). Additionally cell phones, unlike two-way radios are “duplex”, meaning that the transmitter remains on throughout the call, whether the user is talking or listening, effectively doubling the amount of time that potentially hazardous radio waves are being beamed into the brain (Consumer Affairs 2003).

Aside from the potential societal detriments of individual cell phone use, another problem to consider is the placement of cellular transmitting towers. Many times they are placed near apartment complexes, schools, or suburbs, areas where children are likely to be on a regular and extended basis. While a single cell phone may or may not cause nominal health problems, living next door to a transmitter puts those in the area at a much greater risk of exposure to potentially harmful radio waves (New Media Explorer 2003). If a single cell phone has been determined to potentially cause abnormal growths, consider the ramifications of a massive transmitter beaming harmful radio waves 24 hours a day 7 days a week directly into your home, school, or business. The head is no longer the only focus area of the waves, but now, the entire body is absorbing waves that potentially cause innumerable diseases and side effects. In order to gain additional funding, schools are allowing cellular companies to place transmitter towers on their roofs or property, exposing children to the waves day in and day out. While the range of a cell phone’s possibly harmful waves is extremely limited, a transmitter tower has the ability to beam these waves a far greater distance and at a much greater intensity (New Media Explorer 2003). Social degradation has taken a new step in relation to cellular phones, profit at the expense of the communities’ health.

The invention of the cellular telephone is one of wonder and magnificence. It has allowed people all over the globe to stay in touch with each other at all times. Some cell phone users are so attached to these devices that they simply can not leave their homes without them. However there is still a stigma about these gadgets, a stigma of hesitation and of skepticism. Now roughly eighty-three million cellular telephone numbers are activated and more than found hundred and fifty billion calls are made each year (riverdeep). However, there is still skepticism. Their widespread use is unhealthy, both sociologically and physiologically. People are no longer talking to each other face-to-face as much as they used to. Students are now more prone to talk to someone over a digital device than their next door neighbors. Cell Phones have become the primary means of many peoples social communication. As for health, cellular phones are linked to endless amounts of physical harms and disorders. The accident rate increased, and primarily because cellular telephones have become a huge accident factor. Now the second leading cause of accidents in the United States, cellular telephones pose a threat to all motorists because of their distractive and emotive capabilities. Aside from a direct and immediate health threat, cell phones have become dangerous to peoples long term health. The human genome is in danger because of radio waves. Cell phones may be causing brain tumors, brain cancer, tumors, hearing loss, ringing ears, migraines, attention deficit disorder, joint pain, and chronic fatigue. All of these disabling disorders will cause misery, death, and pain in the future for present day cellular telephone subscribers. They may not just affect the users, as discussed, they may effect everyone because of the negative effect of cell phone transmitter towers which emit harmful radio waves on a constant basis all over the United States, coating everyone in what may be one of the most massive downpours of harmful rays the human race has ever seen. However, despite all of these reasons, people continue their addictions to their cell phones. Like cigarettes before them, many people know and accept the risks. Ignoring their health, they are willing to sacrifice their future well-being for instant pleasure and convenience. This sociological phenomenon is one particular to the American way of life and will more than likely continue even after we find the next best and most dangerous item.

Warning!!! All free sample term papers and college term paper examples on Technology topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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