A CLOSE LOOK

How a small gadget has transformed the world

Nilratan Halder | Published: April 27, 2018 22:15:37


If a person went into coma, say, 25 years ago or in the early 90's and regained his consciousness now, would s/he been able to recognise the world as it is now. S/he would not for one simple reason: the small device called cell phone wrongly known as mobile or smart phone almost in everyone's hands. The old and the young now have a set and pick it up almost involuntarily to operate it -either to receive a call or call up someone or simply to look for message, information or starting a chat or announce presence on a social site or even have a look at a video clip. The ubiquitous electronic gadget has become all powerful, demanding singular attention.

The person out of coma would have wondered what these people around him or her were doing with the small device flashing a colourful screen. If s/he were not attentive enough, chances were that s/he would have thought people all around have gone crazy. Who they are talking to or are they practising monologues or dialogues in a play? A little more scrutiny would have brought the person to such a fabulous world that the comatose survivor might have been transfixed in a state of disbelief. On the small screen, pictures, albeit small, move and talk like they do on a TV screen. What is more, those can be controlled by the mere touch of a finger tip (as in case of game).

Those using the cell phone or smart phone are hardly aware that they are no longer taking account of the time they spend on conversation that could be shortened if not for anything else at least for the cost it would involve. Yes, people belonging to poorer sections still have on their mind the issue of the conversational cost if they make a call. But the young ones, those romancing among them in particular, go on cooing for hours. What the amount of the bill is anyone's guess. Those who do not waste a single moment to press the game button on the smart phone also are least bothered about the cost.

Sure enough, this is the handiest gadget for communication. It can save lives or serve the most useful purpose because of the advantage it has to contact the desired people instantly. The gadget also helps stay connected on a regular basis between persons across the continents or on the other side of the world. No other gadget gives people such an advantage.

Yet without running the risk of exaggeration, it can be said that the gadget is grossly abused too. People become so accustomed to using it forget how much is too much of its use, whether it is absolutely necessary to make a call. At times some people go on talking sheer nonsense on the cell phone, forgetful that long conversation is injurious to health. Experts recommend conversation for not more than two minutes at a time.

Then there is a species which shouts at the top of their voice on the gadget in a public bus or place. They are unashamed of interpolating their sentences with abusive languages. Similar is the case with one of the love birds sitting next to you in a public bus, who uses expletives or gives free reign to intimate conversation causing everyone reluctantly overhearing embarrassment.

Failure to decide on the propriety while talking exposes the lack of culture on the part of the people concerned. There is no sense of being needlessly talkative. The cell phone takes its toll unaware of its users when they become addicted to it in some form or other. Particularly those who consider themselves highly active on social sites are likely to be the worst victims. Incorrigibility is their trademark and they sell their souls to the technology devil.

So, rational use of this gadget is desirable. But rationality is a precious commodity in human exchange of ideas and thoughts. What if an app was developed to warn people in the way caution or viewers' discretion is solicited by the TV channels! Perhaps this would be of help. But this goes against business of the service providers. They are unlikely to install such an app to make their business suffer. Here the government has a role to play by making a regulation in favour of such restrictions opted by customers or guardians where the users of cell phones are underaged in particular.

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