Are Cell Phones a Boon or a Bane: Argumentative Essay

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Cell phones have turned into a necessity of life, an extension of our arm. Some of us can’t even live without it. One of the greatest inventions of mankind always has its negatives and can end up causing pain and destruction, but that all depends on why and how it is used. There are many benefits to having a cell phone. There are many important uses for it that we use on a daily. Its usefulness overpowers its abuse. It is a benefit in our lives. From communication to getting emergency help, cell phones can enhance living. Cell phones have the availability of music, a calculator, a camera, a recorder, GPS, etc. all in your pocket. It can also be a bad influence, especially on the younger generation, because for many of them, it’s the first thing they look at in the morning. From car accidents to diminishing human interaction, without common sense, it very much so could be a risk. So, are cell phones a boon or a bane?

The number one reason cell phones are a benefit in people’s lives is for the reason they were even invented in the first place. For communication. They help keep in touch with co-workers, friends, and family. Even the ones far away. “The greatest invention are those which affect the mass of people” (Federacioongpau, n.d., p.1). Cell phones just might’ve been one of the greatest creations in the world to be able to call anywhere in the world. “Keeping in touch with one another is as simple as pushing a button. Even when you can’t talk, cell phones make communication easy with the use of text messaging” (McGriff, 2018, p.1). It’s also good to keep a tab on children and check up on them to make sure everything is alright. Back in the day phones used to need to be wired into the wall, but now everything is wireless, and is easy to make calls on the go. From experience, my family is always calling Haiti every day, so long-distance calling makes it such a convenience to contact people from foreign countries. Connecting to people all over the world has become easier and easier to do as technology advances. Not only with calling and texting but also with connecting with the world.

The second reason cell phones are a benefit in people’s lives is because they are available online for convenient information. Whether you’re doing a research paper or just want to know some trivia, the Internet has information on nearly everything in the world from past, present, and future. These small devices are capable of connecting to the Internet, which allows the user to connect to people around the world. Cell phones can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or through 3G or 4G data plans that use cellular signals to access the Internet. Using cell phone data virtually gives you access to the Internet anywhere: in cars, restaurants, gas stations, and many more. It beats the idea of lugging around a heavy laptop all the time. It has become our mini-laptop. Social media is a huge platform people (especially the young generation) connect to. Cell phones can connect to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Google+, dating websites, newspaper articles, and many more. These devices are also capable of watching movies on the Internet on applications such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. So, when there isn’t a TV within reach, you have a TV right in the palm of your hand.

The third reason why cell phones are a benefit in people’s lives is because they can be used for emergency purposes. It can reach emergency services (911) in a matter of seconds when in danger. Everyone has experienced or witnessed an urgent emergency, and since technology is so advanced, cell phones make it so easy to get help quickly. A couple of years back, school forbade the use of cell phones in school. They preferred cell phones to be off and locked in students’ lockers. But with all the catastrophes happening in school, such as school shootings, bombings, and fires, it would be helpful to have that little device in that time of danger. “Laws forbidding the use of cell phones in schools have lifted in many states after lawmakers realized the need for immediate emergency contact between children and their parents” (McGriff, 2018, p.2). Students having their phones on them also makes parents feel a little more confident knowing that their children can call home when in need. It is also a benefit for seniors who live alone in their homes because they feel safer knowing that a close friend or family member is always within reach at any moment or location just in case of an emergency. Say something were to happen and the person were to fall and hit their head, but before they got unconscious, they called 911, but in the middle of the call they knocked out. Gladly, cell phones have a GPS/tracking system in them, so the police and ambulance can track where they are and get them to a hospital. “In case of an accident, cell phones hold crucial information that your family and loved ones need to know. In your contact list, paramedics can find your In Case of Emergency (ICE) list, and with one button, they can locate people who can help them help you” (McGriff, 2018, p.2). “With GPS installed in a cell phone, the location of that phone can also be established from another location–for example, the police department in the case of a missing person who has a phone with GPS activated in her possession” (McGriff, 2018, p.2). Cell phones save people’s lives.

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It is true that cell phones save people’s lives, but they can also endanger them as well. Knowing most of the benefits of cell phones is essential, but it’s good to see the other side of this argument of why cell phones can be a risk. The first reason cell phones are a risk is because they lead to severe accidents. Did you know that each year about 1,300,000 people are killed in road accidents? Drivers, especially the younger ones, have more of a risk of getting in an accident when using a phone. One, because it’s taking their eyes off the road. Two, they are not focused on what’s in front of them because they are focused on what they are doing on their phone. Many people assume that they can just type a little message for a couple of seconds and everything would be fine, but the average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road or being distracted. In that little period of time with many cars on the road leaves a huge chance of an accident happening. “1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving” (Ameen, 2016, p.2). It’s more for the younger generation than the older adults because they were born with technology in their era, so it’s almost part of them. Also “94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway” (Ameen, 2016). This is why they’re more prone to having accidents on the road due to cell phone usage because it’s the young folks that are mostly on Instagram or Facebook. Not only while driving but also by walking an accident can happen by being so distracted by a phone, it is possible that they could step into oncoming traffic and get hit. Or you could fall down the stairs by missing a step because you weren’t looking (I know this from experience). But despite all of that, it would only be a risk if people would know better and not do this, because not using your phone while driving is common sense. There is a law that makes it illegal to use a phone while driving. Therefore, the percentage of accidents caused by phone usage has drastically decreased.

The second reason cell phones can be a risk is because they minimize human interaction. Many people have become so used to and attached to their phones that they can’t live their life without them. So many people nowadays have their noses stuck to the screen of their cell phones that they fail or are diminishing to see the reality of some things like nature, talking face-to-face, or going to the library. “People have trouble tearing themselves away long enough to reconnect with the real world. You’ve likely seen them around town, on public transportation, and in stores with their eyes and fingers glued to their mobile device. Instead of interacting with the people around them, they ignore face-to-face conversation for virtual ones” (Tomasovic, 2014, p.2). This world is sadly becoming virtual slowly day by day. Everything is being done using technology. You can talk to and meet new people online and even find a boyfriend/girlfriend on that mobile device. I know people back in the day didn’t have the technology that we have now so when they date/court they actually went to the person’s house to talk face-to-face and get to know each other. You can order food online and possibly have it delivered to your house when you don’t feel like getting up and going to the restaurant. People are doing phone interviews before they do the in-person interviews, but are basing their hiring decision more on the phone interview. Bullying is at an all-time high in this decade. Bullies verbally abuse others and feel so tough behind the screen, but when confronted in person, it is not the same case. This is called cyberbullying. People have gotten so used to talking to people behind a screen that when it comes to the point of socializing in real life, they’re not as comfortable or outspoken as they would be sending messages. “The average person spends 144 minutes a day using his or her phone during a 16-hour period” (Campana, 2015, p.2). It has cell phone lovers wondering when was the last time they went outside to enjoy a breath of fresh air without any type of technology in their possession. Cell phones have created such a distraction in speaking face-to-face. It’s disappointing to see the reality that our phones have taken over people’s lives so much that people’s skills are declining. Despite all of that, now people interact more on social media. Some even find the love of their lives on the Internet.

The third reason why cell phones can be a risk is because they can be bad for your health. “Mobile phones use transmitting radio waves through a series of base stations where radiofrequency waves are electromagnetic fields that cannot break chemical bonds or cause ionization in the human body, says the World Health Organization (WHO)” (Borreli, 2013, p.2). So too frequent usage of a cell phone is bad for the human body. Adults, and especially children, could possibly suffer long-term effects of radiation waves on the brain. Those long-term effects could include cancer because of the radiation waves. Another way cell phones are bad for your health is because they can negatively affect your emotions. Ever go on a date and they were on their phone most of the time? Well, that is just really rude, and it makes you feel like you’re not the priority at that moment. Makes you feel unimportant. The person might not have meant much harm by checking how many likes he got on his Instagram post, but the other person feels heartbroken. Cell phones are also bad for your health because they increase stress levels. All day we hear rings and dings from our phones. Sometimes you even hallucinate that you hear your phone ringing. “The constant ringing, vibrating alerts, and reminders can put a cell phone user on edge” (Borreli, 2013, p.2). Another way why a cell phone can be bad for your health is because it increases the risk of illnesses in your immune system. We touch other things, then touch our phones all the time, and some of us do not realize that there are so many germs on our phones. “The greasy, oily residue you may see on your cell phone after a day’s use can contain more disease-prone germs than those found on a toilet seat” (Borreli, 2013, p.3). That bacteria can also easily be transferred by phone from one person to the other. Researchers have even found E. coli on the surface of a phone. Cell phones also increase the risk of chronic pain. Especially when one is so focused on a game they are playing or is texting someone, if they hold the phone between their neck and shoulders, it could create back pain. An arch in the neck held in that strange position for a long period of time can surely lead to chronic back pain. The last reason why cell phones are bad for your health is because it increases the risk of eye-vision problems. One may not notice it now, but staring at the screen can cause eye problems later on in life. “According to The Vision Council, more than 70 percent of Americans don’t know or are in denial that they are susceptible to digital eye strain” (Borreli, 2013, p.4). Since phone screens are smaller than TV and computer screens, people are more likely to squint and strain their eyes. All of these risks are redundant if people just keep their hands clean, be respectful when speaking to someone face-to-face and keep the phone away, and minimize the use of the cell phone for health reasons, and that would surely decrease the health risks that come along with having a cell phone.

Is it a boon or a bane? Cell phones are useful, but can also affect people in a bad way. It all depends on how it’s used. This invention was made for good. To help humanity in everyday life, but the reason for the cons/risks is the result of over-usage and abuse. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Even though cell phones are the cause of many car accidents and health hazards, they are the number one piece of technology in a person’s possession. A phone, instant messenger, camera, GPS, Internet, calculator, music player, etc., all in one device. The cell phone’s usefulness overpowers its abuse, or as they say, the good outweighs the bad.

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