Mobile communications have played an influential part in media transformations over the past two
decades, and are set for an even greater role. The mobile - or mobile - phone is now used by over 1.3
billion people worldwide, and more than fourteen million subscribers in Australia. In 2003 there
were an estimated 1,340,667 mobile or mobile phone subscriber worldwide in 2003; up from
approximately 91 million in 1995, and 1.158 billion in 2002, or 53.49% of total telephone subscribers
(ITU, 2004). More people now use mobile phones than they do fixed phones. In many countries,
more households have mobile telephone connections than they do traditional fixed phones. In a mere
two decades since the mobile phone was marketed commercially, the mobile phone has become
much more than a device for voice telephone calls — it has become a central cultural technology in
its own right. Mobiles are associated with significant cultural transformations, such as the role of
mobiles in forming & maintaining social networks (useful treatments of mobiles include Fortunati et
al., 2003; Katz, 2003; Katz & Aakhus, 2002; and Ling 2004).
There are now quite a number of studies of how mobile phones have been taken up in many different
countries, what distinctive cultural and communicative practices have developed in different settings,
and what mobiles signify in different places. Whereas the telephone had been relatively neglected by
scholars despite over a century of widespread use - as Ithiel de Sola Pool (1977) famously observed,
mobile phones have in the past five years been favoured with a growing number of studies. With this
trickle of scholarship now becoming a torrent, there is a widespread recognition that the mobile
phone, and the many other cognate mobile and wireless technologies have important cultural
While there is not sufficient space here to place mobile phones in the broader landscape of digital
media convergence, there are now important developments unfolding in at least four areas: the
intensification of mobiles as a technology and media device - for instance, the rise of mobile
learning, mobile commerce, mobiles for information and entertainment, mobiles as a games
platform; the proliferation of mobile communications technologies with the growth of portable
digital assistants, new cultures of use around devices such as Blackberries; the interpenetration of
mobiles with new television formats and platforms; the relationship between mobiles and the
Internet, not least the sense in which mobile Internet is heralded as the future of online
Nowadays, it’s not unusual to have one’s phone handy on the table, easily within reach for
looking up movie times, checking e-mails, showing off photos, or taking a call or two. It’s a rare
person who doesn’t give in to a quick glance at the phone every now and then. Today’s
multifunctional phones have become an indispensable lifeline to the rest of the world. We might
expect that the widespread availability of mobile phones boosts interpersonal connections, by
allowing people to stay in touch constantly. But a recent set of studies by Andrew K. Przybylski
and Netta Weinstein of the University of Essex showed that our phones can hurt our close
relationships. Amazingly, they found that simply having a phone nearby, without even checking
it, can be detrimental to our attempts at interpersonal connection. The presence of the mobile
phone had no effect on relationship quality, trust, and empathy, but only if the pair discussed the
casual topic. In contrast, there were significant differences if the topic was meaningful. The
pairs who conversed with a mobile phone in the vicinity reported that their relationship quality
was worse. The pairs also reported feeling less trust and thought that their partners showed less
empathy if there was a mobile phone present.
Thus, interacting in a neutral environment, without a mobile phone nearby, seems to help foster
closeness, connectedness, interpersonal trust, and perceptions of empathy — the building-blocks
of relationships. Past studies have suggested that because of the many social, instrumental, and
entertainment options phones afford us, they often divert our attention from our current
environment, whether we are speeding down a highway or sitting through a meeting. The new
research suggests that mobile phones may serve as a reminder of the wider network to which we
could connect, inhibiting our ability to connect with the people right next to us. Mobile phone
usage may even reduce our social consciousness.
3.0 Mobile Phone in working places creates social problems
3.1 Inattention blindness
Mobile phone use in social situations may result in overload – both physical and mental. Local
interaction with the surroundings and remote interaction with the other person demands certain
attention- E.g. When you talk in a bus stand or crossing the road. Mobile phone use in public
places makes the user “blind “to local cues due to cognitive overload. E.g. When you use mobile
phone while walking through the road, you will not see a vehicle coming close to you. Mobile
phone use in public places reduces the reaction time to events around the user. E.g. You will not
get time to move away from a danger. Reduced attention to local situation may disturb others
since the user is not attending the social situation. E.g. Your conversation and body language
may be annoying to others. Use of Mobile phones in gatherings, meetings, entertainment places
etc disturb others through inattention blindness
3.2 Caller Hegemony
The alarming ring tone may demand higher attention to the phone rather than the local settings.
If you use mobile phones in busy areas, trains or buses, the sudden ring tone may alter your
attention or the message from the caller may cause a disturbed feeling. This will leads to
inattention blindness. This will not be the condition, if you use a land phone. Caller Hegemony is
the asymmetric relationship between the caller and answerer.
3.3 Health Issues
Mobile phones have become one of the icons of modern living symbolizing a world of the
instantaneous, of the connected and of the disposable. But behind the iconic triviality lie serious
issues which affect individuals and society alike.
Mobile phones have become the ultimate designer fashion accessory with costly price tags.
There is both marketing and peer pressure, particularly on the young, continually to update their
phones in order to keep up with trends. This is socially divisive. There is also an associated
environmental issue. The average shelf life for a mobile phone is currently 18 months. By 2005 it
is estimated that 130 million mobile phones will be thrown away annually representing 65,000
tons of waste a year. This is an environmental hazard.
On the one hand these new instruments of communication demand increased levels of literacy
and technical literacy skills. On the other hand they are having significant impact on the use of
language. We are seeing a simplification of language which endangers our linguistic culture and
heritage, and results in a loss of nuance, meaning and subtle shades of difference.
A number of health issues need to be addressed. There is a contradictory literature concerning
microwave transmissions from handsets and ground stations. This is particularly concerning
regarding children. Small keypads can cause problems for those with limited dexterity. There is
some evidence to suggest repetitive strain injury is a problem for those who frequently send text
messages. Finally the use of mobile phones and text messaging in particular can become a
compulsion or even an addiction.
Trends in use raise some interesting issues. Carrying active mobile phones provides a mechanism
for surveillance and tracking by third parties. As we increase the use of our mobiles we become
more vulnerable to receive a new form of spam - the junk text message. This is becoming an
Using mobile phones (even with hands-free facilities) whilst driving presents new dangers. A
driver's concentration is diverted to the conversation with the person on the phone. This is
different from conversation with in-car passengers as in this situation both driver and passenger
are aware of road conditions and temper their conversation accordingly. Given the "street value"
of mobile phones, users are increasingly at risk from mugging when using phones in public
spaces. The use of mobiles in public spaces raises another issue. Such conversations intrude into
others "quiet spaces" and infringe on the privacy of others. This has led to a new concept of
"mobile free zones" on trains. There is increasing pressure for us to remain in mobile contact
when away from the office. The electronically-enabled culture of instantaneous response to the
demands of employers and clients has become the norm. We can no longer leave work at the
3.3.1 Cancer / Tumors
Studies have been conducted suggesting that rats that have been exposed to microwaves similar
to the sort generated by mobile phones but more powerful, showed breaks in their DNA which
could indicate an adverse effect. Also, mice exposed to radiation for 18 months developed brain
tumors. Though of course, these studies are not concrete proof.
3.3.2 Blood Pressure
It was observed that people using mobile phones were prone to high blood pressure. Again, there
isn't any concrete evidence of the same.
A study at the University of Montpellier in France was carried out on 6000 chick embryos and
suggested that the heavily exposed chick eggs were five times less likely to survive than the
control group. This study raised questions about possible effects on pregnant women but it has
not yet appeared in peer-reviewed scientific literature or been reproduced, so its findings are
difficult to assess.
3.3.4 Headaches, Heating Effects, Fatigue
A study brought out that longer the people used mobile phones, the more likely they were to
report symptoms such as hot ears, burning skin, headaches and fatigue. The study did not include
a control group (that is people who do not use mobile phones, to make a comparison); therefore
the symptoms reported could have been caused by any number of other factors in the mobile
phones users' environment, such as working with computers, stress, driving or reading.
There have been various studies into the connection between mobile phones and memory loss. A
study looked into the effect of radiofrequency (RF) on the section of rats' brains that is linked
with the memory. The results showed that RF could modify signals in the mobiles in a part of the
brain that is responsible for learning and short term memory.
3.3.6 Posture (holding phone between raised shoulder and ear)
Some researchers claim that holding a mobile phone between the raised shoulder and the ear
could have a damaging effect on muscles, bones, tendons and discs. These problems would apply
equally to a cordless phone or a landline phone as to a mobile phone and are the effect of bad
3.4 Driving Safety Issue
Driver distraction is an important risk factor for road traffic injuries. There are different types of
driver distraction, usually divided into those where the source of distraction is internal to the
vehicle – such as tuning a radio, or using a mobile phone, and those external to the vehicle –
such as looking at billboards or watching people on the side of the road. This document focuses
on the use of mobile phones while driving, in response to concern among policy-makers that this
potential risk to road safety is increasing rapidly as a result of the exponential growth in the use
of mobile phones more generally in society. It aims to raise awareness about the risks of
distracted driving associated with mobile phone use, and to present countermeasures that are
being used around the world to tackle this growing problem.
Studies from a number of countries suggest that the proportion of drivers using mobile phones
while driving has increased over the past 5–10 years, ranging from 1% to up to 11%. The use of
hands-free mobile phones is likely to be higher, but this figure is more difficult to ascertain. In
many countries the extent of this problem remains unknown, as data on mobile phone use is not
routinely collected when a crash occurs. Using mobile phones can cause drivers to take their eyes
off the road, their hands off the steering wheel, and their minds off the road and the surrounding
situation. It is this type of distraction – known as cognitive distraction – which appears to have
the biggest impact on driving behaviour. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that the
distraction caused by mobile phones can impair performance in a number of ways, e.g. longer
reaction times (notably braking reaction time, but also reaction to traffic signals), impaired
ability to keep in the correct lane, shorter following distances, and an overall reduction in
awareness of the driving situation. Using a mobile phone for text messaging while driving seems
to have a particularly detrimental impact on driving behavior. Text messaging is often a low-cost
form of communication, and the increasing use of text messaging services among drivers is
likely to make this an important road safety concern. Young drivers are more likely to be using a
mobile phone while driving than older drivers, and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of
distraction given their relative inexperience behind the wheel.
4.0 Employer policies
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in most countries for which
statistics are available, leading to substantial human and economic losses for companies and
organizations. In response, a growing number of companies and organisations have adopted fleet
safety policies addressing a number of road safety risk factors, including distracted driving.
Employers are in a powerful position to limit their employees’ exposure to distractive activities
while using company vehicles through a number of mechanisms: firstly, by purchasing safe
vehicles they can reduce the outcomes that result if a crash does occur as a result of distracted
driving. Secondly, through training and implementation of regulations they can control
exposure to risky behaviour (e.g. by banning mobile phone use, or mandating seat-belt or helmet
use). In many companies, fleet safety programmes are introduced under safety and health
measures and/or improving corporate social responsibility.
Some private companies ban only the use of hand-held mobile phones, while providing hands-free
kits to enable staff to make conversations while driving, while others have imposed a
comprehensive ban on the use of mobile phones while driving. The possibility that employers
may be liable for motor vehicle collisions involving employees who were using mobile phones
while driving is a strong incentive towards encouraging a policy on mobile phone use.
To the extent that driver distraction is a problem for commercial drivers, employer policies may
also be a viable approach, similar to efforts to combat driver drowsiness and fatigue among these
Having your mobile phone at work can be useful but it can also be very disruptive. Your friends
and family can reach you anytime, anywhere, which can be annoying.
When you're on your own time, the choice to turn off your mobile phone is entirely yours. When
it comes to using your mobile phone at work, however, you have to be mindful of your co-workers
and your boss, not to mention your own ability to get your job done. Here are some rules
you should follow if you have your mobile phone at work.
5.1 Turn Your Mobile Phone Ringer Off
If you have your mobile phone at work, it shouldn't ring. If you don't want to turn off your
mobile phone completely, at least set it to vibrate. The sounds of different ring tones going off all
the time can be very annoying to others. In addition, you don't want your boss to know how often
you get calls.
5.2 Use Your Mobile Phone Only for Important Calls
If you have your mobile phone at work, you should only use it for important calls. What should
you classify as an important call? The school nurse calling to say your child is ill, your child
calling to say he's arrived home from school safely, and family emergencies that you must deal
with immediately are important. Your friend calling to chat, your child calling to say the dog had
an accident, or your mom calling to tell you your cousin Tilly is engaged should not be
5.3 Let Your Mobile Phone Calls Go to Voice Mail
While you are at work if you are in doubt about whether an incoming call is important, let voice
mail pick it up. It will take much less time to check your messages than it will to answer the call
and then tell the caller you can't talk.
5.4 Find a Private Place to Make Mobile Phone Calls
While it's okay to use your mobile phone at work for private calls during breaks, don't stay at
your desk. Find somewhere else to talk, where your conversation can't be overheard, even if
what you're discussing isn't personal. You may be on a break but your co-workers have a job to
5.5 Don't Bring Your Mobile Phone Into the Restroom
This rule should apply to using your mobile phone at work or anywhere. Why? Well, if you must
ask — you never know who's in there; the person on the other end of the line will hear bathroom
sounds, e.g., toilets flushing; it is an invasion of your co-workers' privacy.
5.6 Don't Bring Your Mobile Phone to Meetings
In this day and age mobile phones have become an essential work tool and therefore this rule
should read "Don't Bring Your Mobile Phone to Meetings If You Are Going to Use It for
Anything Not Related to the Meeting." It's likely you have your calendar on your phone and you
probably use it to take notes. If you need to have it with you for those reasons, then you don't
have much of a choice. Do not use it to text, read or post status updates, or play games. Don't
bury your nose in your phone. Keep your eyes on whomever is speaking and stay engaged in the
meeting. Doing anything else will be a clear signal to your boss that your mind isn't 100 percent
on the business at hand.
Mobile phones have immense public utility, improving communication in social and commercial
interactions. Their relatively low costs have resulted in their rapid and extensive spread, making
an enormous difference to communications around the world, particularly in regions where
fixed-line telephone services are unavailable, inefficient or prohibitively expensive.
A study from Gothenburg University states that research points in two directions. One is that
human in our new technical society will create a new kind of humans “the new nomads” who
will use the mobile phone as a nomadic object, like a “moving force” that makes people more
mobile. This new technology will encourage people to be more mobile and spend more time
outside their homes. Another hypothesis is that the development has made a more stationary
society and those who believe this draw similarity from the research that was done of people’s
habits of watching TV. That research states that we became more stationary than before TV
came and that people that spend much time in front of the TV spends very little time in the
public rooms or out of their homes. To spend much time online would meen that less time is
spent in the real world. This hypotesis suggest that we maybe will be satisfied with the virtual
world and stay at home.
As mobile phones get smarter, they offer more entertainment options. Today's mobile phones can
be used for playing video games, accessing the web, and listening to music. There are a few jobs
where employees are allowed to use headphones and listen to music while they work. In many
more jobs, employees need to be fully attentive to what they are doing while they are at work. If
your business is the type where the employees need to be attentive, you might have to ban the
use of personal mobile phones all together.
The mobile phone problem is getting worse as people get accustomed to constantly being
connected. People drive and talk or even drive and text. If they don't think they can wait to get
off the freeway to make their important contact, how will they ever be able to make it until they
get off work? Most people are dependent on their cells but the problem seems to be worse for the
younger generation. Teenagers and twenty somethings have grown up with mobile phones and
they are used to using them all of the time. The more used to using the cell they are the harder it
is going to be to control personal use in the workplace.
In general, personal mobile phones should probably not be allowed in the work place. In the case
of an emergency, the company phone can be used. In the case of not an emergency the company
phone cnm be used as well but it is much easier to monitor the use of the company phone than it
is to monitor the use of personal phones. If you don't allow personal mobile phones, you will also
be banning video games, personal emails, and music. These are all things that usually don't
belong in the office.
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