Part 1: What is the historic and current impact of cellular phones on economy?
I agree with Mr. Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University’s Earth Institute development guru, when he said during his lecture at UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering last February 2012, that the cellular phone is “the single most transformative tool for development” (“Why Mobile Phones,” 2012). The mobile phone is indeed the “one thing” that drives the economy of the both the developed and the developing world. Certain factors (such as lower prices , prepaid billing systems, etc.), if put together, have made it possible for low-income communities to acquire a mobile phone, thus triggering exponential growth over the past few years. This phenomenon has made it possible for mobile phones to rank top in everyone’s necessity list nowadays as compared to it being a luxury item years past. Take, for example, the introduction of the prepaid billing system. This alternative system (compared to postpaid billing system) enabled all classes of society, credit worthy or not, to own and use a mobile phone, driving the market for mobile phones further. This wiped out the system of sending out bills and phone companies going after debts incurred due to the postpaid billing system (“Eureka moments”, 2009). This, in turn resulted to a more “liquid” economy.
However, there was still a hindrance in the growth of the mobile market: prices. It was not until developers were made aware of the scale of opportunity presented by these mobile phones, did they resolve to produce lower end models to fit the consumer budget. In addition, for even poorer sections of the economy, there was micro financing (“Eureka moments”, 2009), enabling the small entrepreneurs to own cellular phones and increase their productivity. Increased productivity from these entrepreneurs means more jobs, more investments and more revenues. These factors, to name a few, exemplify how the cellular phone, single-handedly began moving economies to greater heights, and will continuously do so in the years to come.
Part 2: What is the historic and current impact of cellular phones on the environment?
The cellular phone, due to its duality of both being a necessity and a luxury item at the same time, is subject to the changes in trends. This results to more and more units being disposed of in a year’s time or even less. This creates a pile up of environmental waste products and if not properly disposed of, are very much harmful to the environment due to the various metals found in cellular phones that will leak out upon corrosion. Toxicity will build up thus increasing the potential damage. A few examples of these damages include water contamination, underground fires due to lithium accumulation and worst, global pollution (Sedycias, n.d.).
Part 3: What is the historic and current impact of cellular phones on relationships?
As the cellular phone becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it has slowly begun changing our lives. The challenge now is how we could maximize this technology into changing our lives for the better and not for worse. It should serve to connect us with one another (even if we are worlds apart) and not to divide. However, this is not always the case. Most correspondence nowadays involves the use of the cellular phone. One positive effect of using
this technology is that communication is now very much accessible as compared to not having a mobile phone with you. Some, unfortunately, hide behind it. It lessens the chance for interpersonal connection. Relationship quality is diminished. It is much easier to deliver bad news on the phone than when doing it face to face. It is harder to endure to see someone in pain than just hearing silence at the other end. You can easily press “end” rather than walking away. Nowadays, we mind our cellular phones (checking it like there is something new every few minutes) more than we mind the presence of someone we care for.
Part 4: What is the historic and current impact of cellular phones on education?
In developing countries, the commitment of quality education is partly dependent on ICTs (new information and communication technologies). The mobile phone is one of the tools utilized to improve one’s access to education and provides means to new learning. With almost everyone having access to a mobile phone, it is considered one of the most accepted tools to gain access to useful information without having to exert too much effort or resources. By means of a mobile phone, transfer of educational information and content is now viable over long distances and over areas that are very hard to reach by whatever means of transportation. Data can be transferred via voice communication or via more advanced medium (via the Internet) without the need of any physical infrastructure such as phone wires and roads (Valk, Ahmed, & Elder, 2010).
Mobile Learning or mLearning utilizes the use of a cellular phone for people who are not able to attend to their traditional educational settings due to activities demand much of their time. Because of the portability of their handheld cellular phones, these students now get to study at their own time at a place where they are most comfortable The use of cellular phones for educational purposes also presents a much cheaper way to study. Since mobile phones are everywhere and come in flexible cost brackets, they cater to all economic classes. This then enables education can now be accessed using the student’s existing handheld. There would be no need to purchase another tool for learning such as a computer or broadband service (Valk et al.).
Part 5: What is the historic and current impact of cellular phones on morals?
For some people, having a cellular phone is an easy way out. Hiding behind the confines of written communication via text, for example, enables people to react more loosely than they would if the encounter is face-to-face. In these scenarios, people tend to be angrier or now have the guts to vent out more. Morals involving social grace, politeness and civility, are now tossed out when it comes to airing one’s concerns when the cellular phone is used rather than when having the actual face-to-face conversation. The cellular phone offers the degrees of separation one can hope for in times like this. In this context, the cellular phone now is used as an excuse for having loose morals. The cellular phone made it possible for people to be not as polite as they used to be during the time when all the choice that we had was to talk to someone personally, face-to-face (bullgatortail, 2012).
Why Mobile Phones Drive Economic Growth in the Developing World (2012, March). Cellular News. Retrieved from http://www.cellular-news.com/story/53483.php
Eureka Moments: How a luxury item became a tool for global development (2009, September). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/14483872
Sedycias, R. (n.d.). Your Cell Phone and The Environment. Streetdirectory.com. Retrieved from http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/34351/phones/your_cell_phone_and_the_en vironment.html
Valk, J., Rashid, A., & Elder, L. (2010). Using Mobile Phones to Improve Educational Outcomes: An Analysis of Evidence from Asia. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 11 No. 1. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/794/1487
Bullgatortail. (2012, June 2). Re: How Has Technology Changed Our Moral Values? [One example that I've noticed is that people are much more likely to angrily vent their frustrations via written communication--emails, Facebook, texting--than they ever would have in face-to-face encounters. Politeness and social grace often goes out the window when it comes to saying what's on a person's mind when the keyboard is used instead of one's vocal chords.]. Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/how-has- technology-changed-our-moral-values-406981