Mobile phones are a mixed blessing for many of us. While some of us may miss the days of going out in public without hearing phones ringing all around us, most people do not miss being stranded on the side of the road with no way to call for help. The allure of having a convenient way to communicate has resulted in an increase in mobile phone usage over the years. Mobile phones have given rise to new rules of etiquette, and even new laws that regulate their use. Concerns about public safety and mobile phones are often in the news, making some people wonder if mobile phones are a good idea. Should you buy a mobile phone, or continue to use one?
One of the big reasons for the rise in mobile phone usage is that you can call anywhere in the country for the same price that you can call your next-door neighbor. This lack of long distance charges has led to many people getting mobile phones who ordinarily may not have been interested. Also, many people now use their mobile phones exclusively, after canceling their home phone service. Having one less bill to pay is definitely a positive.
According to the CTIA, a wireless trade association, more than 270 million people in the United States own a mobile phone, so this is a trend that may eventually do away with land lines altogether.
If you get a very basic mobile phone plan with only a few minutes, you will not pay very much every month. However, if you are like most people, you may choose a plan with several hundred or even thousand minutes and will include extras, such as text messaging. These plans can run well more than 100 dollars per month, and may come with a one- or two-year contract, limiting your choices if a cheaper plan becomes available. And woe to those who go over their allotted minutes. Mobile phone bills can easily become 1,000 dollar nightmare.
Even extras such as ringtones can end up adding quite a bit to your expenses. For example, if you download a ring tone from the Internet, you may end up having your credit card charged $9.95 a month for the privilege. When it comes to mobile phone products, it always pays to read the fine print.
Never before has it been easier to call your husband or wife on the way home from work and ask to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home. Parents everywhere are enjoying the ability to call their child at midnight and find out why he isn't home yet. Worried people everywhere are able to gain a degree of reassurance because of the mobile phone.
Some people are enjoying the GPS capabilities that some phones have, enabling them to track the location of their friends and family as they go about their daily lives. This is a great convenience if you want to meet up with a friend and want to know exactly where they are and who they're with.
Some people use their mobile phones to keep track of others a bit too often. A girlfriend might call her partner incessantly to check up on him. If limits are not quickly set, this behavior can become a serious case of harassment.
The GPS capability of mobile phones is also something that can be abused. It opens the door for controlling individuals to give full rein to their stalker tendencies. Sometimes it's a good thing for people not to know exactly where you are at every moment.
If you have friends or family who tend to be needy, you may grow tired of answering a mobile phone that has a demanding person on the other end when you are trying to work or relax.
Mobile phones can provide a degree of safety that previous generations only dreamed of. These days, you can go anywhere in the world with a mobile phone, and with the proper service, be able to notify someone if you are in trouble, even if you are on top of a mountain in Nepal. Most people aren't mountain climbers, but cars do break down and when they do, it's nice to have a mobile phone to call the wrecker.
Mobile phones also come in handy when you are meeting someone for the first time. If you feel threatened in any way, you have an emergency number right there in your hand.
The GPS capability that some mobile phones have, also has enabled trackers to find people who were lost in the woods, but had their mobile phone turned on.
People like to carry their mobile phones with them in the car in case of emergency, but they also like to have them in case they get a call they don't want to miss. Many accidents have been caused by people talking on mobile phones while driving. So many, in fact, that legislation has been passed prohibiting conversation on mobile phones while driving in some states.
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous. According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, 18 states have outlawed texting while driving.
Another safety concern is that mobile phones could increase the risk of brain tumors or other diseases. Since mobile phones have only been in wide use for a few years, there is no way to know what the long term effects of mobile phone use may be. Studies show conflicting evidence, and many researchers advocate that more studies be done. Chances are, the answer to this particular question won't be available for a few years at best.