Socially Disconnected

[Delivered as CC#9]


Do you recognize him? The person in this photograph?

Before I tell you his name, let me tell you something about him. His mother was a deaf, his father taught elocution to the deaf. Probably inspired by this, he became a teacher of the deaf, people with impaired hearing.

His name is Alexander Graham Bell. The inventor of telephone. His wife, who had become deaf at the age of 5, assisted him with his research.

It is curious if Alexander Graham Bell knew in 1870 how much his invention would impact modern society.

Fellow people!

We all are in a relationship. A very sweet and invincible one. With our mobile phones. Today, our mobile phones have become a part of our identity. They are the first things we see in the morning. No matter what the time, we definitely hunt for our phone. These indispensable phones even follow us to our most private places.

According to a survey conducted by a university, 28% of 18-34 year old people, check Facebook on their smartphones before leaving their bed. 45% of Indians admit to using their phones in the restrooms. Selfies, browsing, texting, anything.

Let’s forget the numbers, how many of us can survive without a mobile phone?

I wonder if Mr. Bell knew that his idea of connecting two people would grow to be the start of a new Social Addiction called the mobile phone. Our mobile phones are our social lifelines. Our stance at society depends on our likes, connections and followers. Teenagers claim that their social lives would cease to exist without text messaging!

I wouldn’t deny the benefits of mobile phones. We can talk to our entire family tree, situated at different parts of the world. With the advent of internet, learning, sharing have become more accelerated and feasible. Everything is on our fingertips.

We find ourselves in a social paradox where what used to keep us connected may actually be causing us to disconnect from the world around us. We have social lives. We roam around with friends, family and our colleagues. These breaks are to bring us into natural environment, not shift the gadget from laptop to phone.

In a world with 70% of mobile phone users, what are the implications of using it? Young users can experience depression, cyber bullying and sleeping disorders. Texting and talking while driving is twice as likely to cause an accident as drunk driving. More so, as 60% of a phone’s radiation is absorbed by a user’s head, fertility issues and radiation exposures are increasing.

Keeping your phone close to your body while sleeping being the major cause. My professor, who conducts research in Microwave engineering, always keeps his phone in his bag or on his desk with louder ringtone. Do we all need to get into this research to understand the harmful effects?

One of the key issues I would like to emphasize on is to use your mobile phones before sleeping. A research conducted at Harvard university shows how it interferes with our body’s natural rhythm. Light simulates cells in the retina, the area at the back of our eye, that transmits signals to our brain. This light tells the time of the day. At night, our exposure to light tells our body clock that it is day time. This inhibits the release of melatonin, the sleeping hormone and simulates the excretion of cortisol, the waking hormone. All artificial lights have this effect but since our mobile phones emit blue light maximum and the eye cells are most sensitive to blue, the light from our mobile phones has a substantially greater effect. Naturally, we stay awake longer. This disturbed sleep makes us stressed out, increases headaches and in worst cases, even leads to insomnia. It ultimately makes us disconnect to society, the people in front of us.

Hence, one thing I want you to take from this is to revisit your relationship with your mobile phones. To Mr. Graham Bell, of course there is no harm in your invention, sir! Mobile phones have made life easy, for sure, but just like drugs, it needs to be in limit.

There is nothing wrong in what we have. What we really need to ponder about is what we do with what we have. Do we let it rule us?


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