Abusive Cell Phone Use: Imperative Discipline!

It is no longer news that the advent of the cell phone has ushered in new habits in society.  What continues to draw attention and create havoc is its persistent wrong usage by many. Take it or leave it, new ways and attitudes have come to stay with the exciting technology. It is like give me a phone and I give you my attention. And the more the technology has evolved from the initial land-line (fixed phone) through the cordless, the cell phone, to the smartphone (android and iPhone), the more society is being swept away by what now looks like the phone hurricane.
The mobile phone, however useful, has also come with negative excitement enslaving many users to suffer conscious or unconscious dependency.     
Today, meeting sessions lack the required concentration. Workers are distracted by phones which they place on their tables and constantly pay attention to calls, WhatsApp and Facebook messages. Drivers lose concentration on the steering as they answer calls sharing their attention between the phone and the dangerous traffic. Students spend more time on the phone than on their lesson notes. Worse still, phones are sneaked into classrooms by learners who, instead of paying attention to the teacher, are attracted to manipulating the phone under the bench. Yet, what do they do on these phones? Probably taking selfies, playing games, watching YouTube and exploratory world. 
If the marvellous devotion accorded to the phone were even to exploit the positive side of it, then there would be lesser undesirable effects. But come to think of what fascinates people on the phone. It is less of research, but more of sensational messages. It is less of timely communication, but laughter and purposeless interactions. It is less of lesson and information supplement, but the admiration of features of the new expensive phone bought. It is, equally, the zeal to brandish the latest mark of the phone. The type of phone in the hand creates a new class for the holder. 
In brief, the disadvantages of excessive phone dependency include constant distraction, social disruption, winding and prolonged work days, resource depletion, road accidents, social isolation, health problems, and youth crimes.  A glean from familiar sources gives a brief history of the dawn of cell phones in Cameroon. It takes us memory lane to 1999 when the ‘Société Camerounaise de Mobile’ (MOBILIS) emerged as the earliest supplier of the mobile calling network. The MOBILIS is today called Orange Cameroon alongside other competitors like MTN, CAMTEL and Nexttel. At that time, the portable phone or the network tool was just what is today commonly called ‘cheronko’ or ‘kumba bread’ indicating less than smart phone quality. 
The first amazement of the phone technology was that it copied the ‘walkie talkie’ or the two-way radios system. Which was a communication handset restricted to the Police Force. Therefore, some people found pleasure investing in a similar handset though costing a treasure. The second amazement came with its utility enabling communication between distant friends, family members and business partners. It was and remains a rare magic for communication. The third amazement comes with the ever innovating phone industry. From the multiplicity of brands to the advancement of the technology, the equipment keeps stimulating taste and utility.
From the very beginnings of the phone technology, its purpose was mainly the simultaneous transmission and reception of the human voice. To this, the makers have added other astounding ICT application engines to expand the usefulness of the device like google, camera, scanning facility, transfer of text and image, recording, as well as the very beautiful looks of the piece. 
In their market bait, the phone industry has progressed from the candle stick (1890s), desktop rotary (1920s), touch tone (1960), wall touch tone (1970s), cordless phones (1980s), and the first mobile or cell phone (1983) reaching Cameroon later by the year 2000. Today, sources estimate that 72 per cent of Cameroonians own cell phones. Meanwhile, the four telecom competitors in Cameroon point to some 24 million lines subscribed by 2020.   
Phone Etiquettes 
Beyond specific rules that institutions, groups and individuals may want to adopt for their etiquettes or conveniences, there exist agreeable manners that if respected would enable a trouble-free use of the phone. Such include: Keeping phones off during meetings, in church, at theatre and while consulting in hospital, never fidgeting with phone while driving, not placing phone on dinner table, understandi...



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