The invention of cell phones (cellular) may be equated at par with the invention of radio, telephone, or television. Its usage has grown to astronomical proportions. Almost every human being from a bubbling teenager to an old infirm individual keeps a cell phone (cellular). Previously it was considered a status symbol, but now with prices hitting rock bottom, it has become a necessity with everyone, right from the daily wage laborer to the company president.
Along with its widespread use has also come its widespread abuse. You can find people talking, nay, yelling on their cell phones (cellular) at every nook and corner. The ease-of-use and its superb functionality have made people go into some sort of virtual phantom private world, where they lose consciousness of their surroundings. They are so absorbed with the voice coming from their devices and their incessant loud reply to it that they forget they are social beings living in a civilized society, where other persons also have a right to silence. Cell phone users, almost every one of them, assume that society has a high tolerance for their constant chatter, and they care-a-dime even if you hear their private conversations, shocking revelations, or intimate sweet nothings.
It is common to hear people talking on cell phones (cellular) at hospitals, job interviews, funerals, weddings, sporting events, cinemas, theaters, auditoriums, conference halls, and at business meetings. Hearing Chopin`s or Mozart`s Overture suddenly going off in Broadway shows is not uncommon, although mobile phones have to be strictly switched off or has to be set to vibrate or mute according to the rules. Libraries, auditoriums, museums, hospitals, and all enclosed places for public use like elevators, conference rooms, restaurants, and cafeterias are filled with people laughing, crying, or going hysterical while speaking to someone invisible. With hands-free cell phones (cellular), you can see a person talking with full dramatic gestures that a few years back, would have been considered a sure sign of insanity and madness.
Most road accidents happen because people talk more and drive less. It has been found that holding the cell phone (cellular) while driving is one of the main reasons for car accidents, as the conversation itself is distracting; hence, the accidents even happen with hands-free cell phones. Technological change is forcing society to define new norms and is leading towards a paradigm shift in societal acceptance of what is termed as cell phone behavior. The thin line between private and personal has vanished. The wireless and Gen Y kids believe it is their birthright to use cell phones (cellular) and other technological products anywhere and anytime, without care or respect for anyone.
This use or abuse of cell phones (cellular) urgently demands enforcement of civilized practices, which may be called as mobile manners, mobile etiquette, or rules of cell phone decorum. This enforcement cannot be done by the organized agencies of law, like the courts or the police, but it has to be enforced by the public, by you, by me, and by everyone.
People should follow certain dos and don’ts while using their cell phones (cellular). Private conversations should never be done in public. They should also understand that speaking at a low volume gives more clarity on the other hand than yelling and shouting. They should realize that the vibrate feature can always be used at gatherings, meetings, auditoriums, and all other public places.
Multitasking while talking can only distract and never prove beneficial. They should never talk on their cell phones (cellular) while shopping, driving, crossing the streets, or while doing other personal business. Keeping the conversation short and brief has to be encouraged. And everyone should tell everyone about these mobile manners or these few rules of cell phone decorum. Then only will a change happen? A change much needed for the betterment of the individual, the society, and for the technological marvel – the cell phone (cellular).