Mobile phones; they’re everywhere! In a country of over 180 million people, most of whom cannot afford a decent living, around 120 million possess this device! Even the sweeper riding his Sohrab cycle can be seen with a cell phone held to his ear in Pakistan.
I love the ease available at my fingertips with which I can stay connected with friends. The day we made a chat group on WhatsApp of old school friends was an exciting moment in my life. The elation I felt at the realization that I’d be able to stay in touch with them all the time was something I’d never felt before. And this is just one app I’m talking about. If I sit down to describe the abundantly useful mobile apps available out there, I’d run short of time and space.
The other day I was watching an old drama serial (probably from the 1980’s) on the television. The particular scene that was playing was about some people waiting for guests so that they could start a party. Apparently the guests they were waiting on, had called them before leaving and were held-up somewhere midway to the destination. The hosts were now in a state of restlessness because they didn’t know the exact whereabouts of those guests. Looking at that scene I thought, we can’t even imagine something like that happening in this day and age. The ability to instantly connect with friends and family is a relief.
But while cell phones have brought so much convenience in our lives, they’ve come with their own set of consequences. The hazard of messaging or taking a call while driving being one among several concerns. Everyday I encounter scores of people on the road who are driving in the fast lane, at snail’s pace. It takes several attempts to make them change lanes (because they obviously aren’t concentrating on the road). Then there are people who have become addicted to this device, those who are glued to it all the time. They spend every waking minute tapping away on their cell phone.
There are two sides to everything. When I came across the question of whether cell phones are affecting our ability to focus, I thought about it a bit. And just like my take on Facebook and social media in general, I concluded that the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of a medium, device or facility depends greatly on how we use it. If we use it excessively, it’ll become a curse. If we use it intelligently, it’ll become a blessing!