Mobile devices have become the face of communication especially in the 21st century. Mobile is a multi-trillion industry that surpasses pharmaceuticals thanks to a considerable lobbying arm. Scientific studies that have been conducted in relation to phone safety have resulted in differing conclusions in respect to humans. Funding for such research projects originate from a number of sources which cannot be ascertained if affiliated to the industry or not.
As the social media platforms are evolving the benefits are replicated everywhere in the industry. Mobile devices have received a wide range of applications ranging from healthcare, education, transportation, business and even social perspectives. The world is experiencing rapid changes brought about by technological innovations especially mobile devices. The uses of mobile devices in health industry are becoming more prevalent. It is anticipated that global sales of Smartphone’s are expected to beat the 1.5 billion mark by 2016. The coming years will see teens and elderly carrying a Smartphone. As a result of the rapid communication and mobile computing, healthcare providers are adopting healthcare mobile applications.
The sample is replicated in educational systems. Traditional teaching methods are rigid and easily boring for the younger generation who are increasingly wired. YouTube, for instance, are providing an insight into using today’s technological assets to solve educational challenges. iTunes U is an interactive software that is incorporated in educational models to improve students interaction with technology and teacher delivery. The software is functional in iPads and facilitates the creation of new courses. Teachers can create a powerful way of presenting material while the students benefit from rich and immersive learning experience using the iTunes U application. The application is universally available for all stages of learning right from K-12 to college to university level.
This research relies on research and publications from various entities including medical, educational, and transportation among others. These research findings and articles are analyzed to give a vivid view of the consequences of phones in relation to human behavior, health and living standards.
The research has adopted a informational inquiry because there are lack of conclusive material that explicitly cite negative impacts of cellular devices.
Cellular phones are devices that send radio signals on waves to a base station. The carrier signal generates a near-field plume and a far-field plume. Living organisms on the other hand generate electromagnetic fields at the organs, cells and tissues. Their kind of electromagnetic radiation is called biofield and is generated through metabolic and physiological processes.
Near field plumes generated within few inches of the center of a cell phone antenna is a factor of the amount of power required to carry the signal to the base station, and the more power is required, the further the plume radiates and the more harmful the radio waves carrying the information.
Cellular phones operate at 1900MHz – a frequency invisible to the living organism’s biological tissues. However, the information-carrying secondary wave used to interpret data or voice is detected by the body as an invader that sets in protective biochemical reactions, thereby, altering the intercellular physiology and biological processes. This causes genetic damage, disruption of intercellular communication, tumor risks, and leakage in blood - brain barrier among others. The effects of recognizing the signals are as a result of indirect biochemical responses in the cell.
According to official advice from NHS, the use of mobile devices should be limited to avoid exposure to radio waves. Children in particular have been the centre of attention and are only allowed to use phones in emergency situation. Some studies have indicated that there is a high risk considering their thinner skulls and developing brains hence more vulnerability.
Some countries such as France have illegalized mobile phone advertising directed at under-12s. Legislations are also developed to ensure that all phones are sold with earphones. Canada and Russia are considering cautionary measures in phone use while Israeli governments are considering printing cautionary messages on mobile devices. Other countries have banned the use of Wi-Fi in schools.
These cautionary notions among governments and entities imply that not all alarmists belong to the subset of humanity who read conspiracy behind technological advancement. Mobile devices are widespread and account for 5.3 billion in a global population of 7 billion people. Anything that may be proven to be dangerous would be highly far-reaching. Mobile technology just like asbestos and smoking was rolled without considering long term effects.
A number of scientists who have discovered displeasing evidence are reluctant to bring them forth due to pressure to withhold funding and sack threats. The mobile market is dynamic as well as innovative and the government rakes in billions of money from it. The economy relies on these sources in form of tax and licensing. Scientist who by any means concur that the rising cases of strokes and cancer may be attributed to electromagnetic radiations emitted from mobile devices are reluctant to express their doubts publicly because they rely on the industry to give them data. Without hard evidence, their reputation and careers will be in jeopardy. Pro-mobile lobby groups stress that radiations associated with cancer results in breakage of biochemical bonds in the body. An electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile devices has low and weak frequencies unable to heat human tissues and cause damage to DNA molecules.
Speculations surrounding phone use is not limited to cancer alone. There is growing concerns that the use of mobile phones can result to disease vulnerability. Experiments conducted on birds’ crypto chrome have indicated that it can be disturbed by exposure to radio frequencies, far below those of radio frequencies. Cryptochrome is a molecule in the bird’s eyes used for navigation and are also found in humans for detect light. The molecule is vital in melatonin secretion, a hormone that bolsters the immune system. Many people have reported electro sensitivity as a result of electromagnetic fields that power mobile devices. The effects range from occasional headaches to sever disability and according to Dr. Andrew Tresidder, when he advised his patients to switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi router and cordless phones, the symptoms are alleviated. The Healthy Protection Agency has dismissed electro sensitivity as a psychological phenomenon but the allegations are not conclusive.
The mobile phone industry has continuously denied that phone use is linked to cancer. However, it issues safety precautions through tiny prints on the back of the devices to hold it 15mm from the body. BlackBerry, for instance, advices a 25mm distance from the body and way from pregnant abdomens or the abdomen of the teens.
The risk associated with the use of mobile devices is not tied to health concerns only. Social and behavioral effects are witnessed every day. According to the definition of a problem, texting and driving qualify as one of the major problems in the society. Using past research and publications, it is evident that a lot of accidents occur due to distraction caused by texting. Mobile communications are linked to an increasing case of distraction leading to accidents, injury and dead. According to Department of Transportation, (2013) 13% of teen drivers aged between 18 and 20 involved in car wrecks admitted to have been texting on their mobiles at the time of crash. It is problematic because in spite the fact that these teens can drive safely while driving, most of them spent 10% of their driving time outside their lanes. The same applies to adults in that 48% of young drivers have witnessed their parents drive while texting. 30% of these adults confirmed receiving or sending a message while driving while 15% of their kids have seen those sending messages while driving.
Texting while driving, according to statistics from state and highway departments makes the driver six times more likely to cause and accident than when intoxicated. It is also puts the driver more than 20 times likely to crash and is considered as dangerous as driving blindly for 5 seconds at a time.
Considering the fact that 25% of more than 1.6 million car accidents originate from using mobile devices while driving, the trend pose a danger to the society. 11 teens lose their lives every day due to this habit. As a result, texting while driving is a problem facing the society at large.
The use of mobile devices should be limited. Though there is conflicting information concerning the effect of electromagnetic exposure, various alarms have been raised. Phone manufacturers have been quick to dispute fears that their devices emit harmful electromagnetic radiations. However, cautionary measures printed on the back of some mobile handset may imply disclosure of crucial information by the same manufacturers for the sake of economic purposes. Other than health effects, other social interruptions caused by mobile devices have resulted in loss of life and property worth millions.
Therefore it is imperative that conclusive research is made to determine the health effects of mobile devices as well as roll out massive awareness and education to discourage behavioral activities such as texting and driving. The culture of exercising restrain especially when interacting driving with mobile devices should start with the parents and be passed down to their children. Teens, for instance, should be restricted with the use of cellular devices especially during tender age and given clear instructions right away from their driving school not to use mobile communication devices while driving.
Committee on Identification of Research Needs Relating to Potential Biological or Adverse Health Effects of Wireless Communications Devices, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council. "Identification of Research Needs Relating to Potential Biological or Adverse Health Effects of Wireless Communication." 2008.
George Louis Carlo, Martin Schram. Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age. Basic Books, 2002.
Lin, James C. Advances in Electromagnetic Fields in Living Systems: Volume 5, Health Effects of Cell Phone Radiation. Springer, 2009.
Sturnquist, Daniel M. Mobile Phones and Driving. Nova Publisher, 2006.