The Silent Killer In Our Pocket

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Imagine you have a child, who you love with all your heart. Who has just eagerly began their life in high school, with a bright future just a step ahead of them. And as they leave for school, you talk to them for the last time. “I love you,” you say, and them back. But they never come back home. They never get to laugh and cry with you. They never get create more memories with you. When the heart-wrenching words come through the phone, the whole world stops and stands still. As you stand there, your hands cold as ice, you hear your child has been killed in a tragic car accident. You go silent. The words piercing your heart with a million daggers. And all because of one glance at their cell phone.  

Cell phones seem to be one of the most prominent objects everyone owns. According to the Pew Research Center, it is said that in America about 72 percent of American citizens own a smartphone (Business Insider, Drake Baer). Smart Phones, by their name, are quite advanced and portable, that is compared to the 1980’s Brick Telephones. Thus making smartphones a monstrous distraction. And on a smartphone, there can be much more done than just calling. Texting, social media, and even games are big to-dos on these devices, making the desire to check your cell phone even greater. People use potentially life-threatening modern technology that requires a high amount of concentration; Smartphones are only creating a reason to be distracted from these tasks, endangering human lives.  

One of the most dangerous weapons that are available to everyone with a wallet is automobiles. The Association for Safe International Road Travel, a non-profit humanitarian organization, states that,"Globally nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, and more than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.” Huffington Post reports that about nine Americans are killed every day from motor vehicle accidents that involved distracted driving, such as using a cellphone, texting or eating (Erin Schumaker, Huff). These numbers are surprisingly high and concerning.

What if one of those nine killed everyday is a loved one? In the summer of 2007, a father of two girls, John Boden’s life was completely altered. As he was driving down a road he drove down many years of his life, when a teen texting while driving violently swerved over the centerline and hit him head-on.  As John Boden lay pinned in his devastated vehicle, two men came to help pull him out, Boden asked them to put their cell phone up to his ear to so he could call his wife. This one action has irreversibly changed Boden’s life in a dramatic way. He has lost most of the feeling in his legs and is unable to return to any kind of work. “We used to be very social. We used to take the girls camping, and boating, and playing ball. Now we can’t do that.” Grievously stated John (CBC news). Just a simple piece of metal can cause such grief. Yet the constant and endless use of Smartphones is only physically threatening but also mentally.  

Social media and technological interactions are ruining our generations face to face communication skills. The use of technology to communicate has drastically increased over the past two decades. Although technology is wonderful and all, but what is it doing to the way teens communicate nowadays? It is completely transforming our culture. In a study done by Tamyra Pierce, it reveals that the connection in face to face interaction and social unease increased with the amount of online time an individual takes part in (Haley Amanda Toadvine). Concluding that the more we use technology the worse our social interaction is. Social skills are one of the most important characteristics we need to succeed. In order to land a job, you must have sturdy personal qualities with interacting with others. To work with a team you must know how to be a leader, and how to smoothly get along with coworkers. But honing these skills are needed for a multitude of life opportunities, such as finding a partner. One of human’s desires is finding love. But the constant overuse of our phones will stunt our social skills, for we will spend too much time glued to our screens. Instead of interacting with the people around us. You might ask, why don’t we just put our phones away? Well, that might be easier for some than others. 

Vera Nazarian, an Armenian-Russian American writer, once stated, “It's easier for a rich man to ride that camel through the eye of a needle directly into the Kingdom of Heaven, than for some of us to give up our cell phone.” If you ask someone, to give up their phone, they will most likely compare it to losing a limb. This may even be true, for being addicted to something can become part of you. According to an experiment done by MIT professors at two business schools in Italy and France, students realized how much their phones impact their lives. Most of the students, who gave up their phone, felt some degree of anxiety. While performing normal tasks, they felt as if they didn’t know what to do in their spare time (Alice G. Walton). Smartphone addiction is just like any other, whether it be alcohol or drug addiction. What they all have in common is the extreme devotion and devastation they can cause.  

In the search for a resolution to the texting while driving epidemic, several options are being employed. Many apps have been developed for smartphones which will automatically reply to incoming texts when the app detects that the receiver is in a moving vehicle. Defensive driving courses have increased efforts to teach about the dangers of texting while driving. Although this solves some issues, not everyone will abide by these resolutions. One of the most reasonable resolutions is just put down the phone. A text cannot be as valuable as your life. Sharon Heit, the mother of a texting and driving victim, strongly declared, “In a split second you could ruin your, future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.” Open your eyes to the massive issue standing right in front of you. Don’t be a zombie and completely ignore the problems in society, for they may never improve. Don’t wait till it is on your doorstep, take action to counter these concerning matters. Because you may save the precious life we all share.

Jonas Mull

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