Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dangers of mobile phones

Source: The National, Tuesday 22nd November 2011


TECHNOLOGY, like every­thing else, brings along with it all the advantages and the shortcomings.
Take the mobile telephone, for instance.
It has created instant communication through the length and breadth of formerly mostly inaccessible Papua New Guinea.
In so doing, it has created an instant link up of good as well as bad information, welcome as well as unwelcome information if you like.
Many townites and city   sleekers do not answer calls from numbers they cannot recognise, fearing the call might be requests for money from some family member.
Those who owe money suffer nightmares when the phone starts ringing. And there are the extremes.
Fourteen-year-old Seri Erara, a community schoolgirl of Hanuabada in Port Moresby, is dead now for the simple reason that she did not answer her father’s frantic calls when she did not turn up at home after 7pm.
Unbeknown to him, she had been picked up by a schoolfriend’s aunt to spend last Thursday afternoon at Gerehu.
When she did finally turn up after dark, the enraged father whipped her literally to death.
Was her phone charged? Did she lose it?
Was it on silent or did she deliberately refuse to answer her father’s call?
We are none the wiser and shall never know
as she is silenced forever with the answers.
One victim of an innocent gadget that, not too long ago, meant nothing in our communities but, today, seems to dominate our every waking minute.
Not too long ago, a policeman was arrested and charged when it turned out that he had been recording on his mobile phone his sexual tryst with a colleague’s wife in Kokopo, East New Britain.
The husband needed to make a call and his unsuspecting colleague loaned him his phone with the incriminating evidence in the phone’s memory. And the rest is history.
Many more domestic fights are initiated and
marriages torn up because of some incriminating text message left undeleted
on a phone.
Many more violence and social upheaval will result yet as a result of this simple innocent machine.
Theft or open snatching of phones will now have overtaken purse and wallet picking if somebody is keeping a record.
Mobile phone bills are now some of the biggest expense items in many a home.
Children’s education is affected as they can now play computer games or chat or text discretely without the teacher ever finding out. Communication at home is affected as children and even parents tend to stay on the phone to their friends, colleagues and class friends.
Fearing parents’ refusal, children are today stealing from their parents to buy phone cards.
Pornography is easily accessed via the mobile phone and then transmitted, with or without the permission, to others.
This will result in young, innocent and inquisitive minds getting drawn to these depraved pastimes and, from there, to loose moral and all that entails.
It will spread to heavy and addictive gambling.
Already, the games that the phone companies are running are attracting a lot of following.
We have no information but we can be certain that there is now way the mobile phone companies can keep track of or prevent children from playing these.
It is only a short leap to addiction.
Inexpensive K59 phones do all the work that K2,000 phones can do but people crave the expensive items.
Much of what expensive phones offer are rarely, if ever, used but people still want the expensive items.
The era of gadget desirability is here and all and sundry is sucked in, whether or not they can afford it seems immaterial at the moment.
It is time that everybody gave some thought to the proper use of the mobile phone. What exactly is its use and is it being used for that purpose?
Or, is it being abused?
Does the government have any role in this, particularly where children are concerned?
It requires a group or think-tank to be formed to look into the effects of this technology upon a population such as PNG has and, particularly, upon children

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