When thinking about mobile phone usage the stereotypical picture is one of a teenager at the dinner table, uninterested in engaging in conversation, and instead being completely occupied with text messaging and social media on their phones. Instead of interacting with the people around them, our generation ignores face-to-face conversations for virtual ones. Mobile phones dehumanize the dynamics of human contact. Some people may not even know how to interact with others around them anymore, preferring the safety and comfort of a well-timed SMS.
Not only have mobile phones damaged our social standing, but they are unhygienic. There are 18 times more harmful bacteria on the surface of a mobile phone than a toilet seat. Inevitably, humans are prone to touching dirty things. The problem is, we are also always touching our phones, transferring the germs to our devices. We wash our hands, but never or rarely clean our phones. Furthermore, mobiles don't just collect the bacteria, they breed it! Phones, usually warm from battery usage, and stored in dark spaces such as pockets, are the optimum conditions for germs to replicate.
However, mobile phones can provide important safety benefits too, enabling a young person to make contact and be contacted. They can also act as a location finder for emergency services. Nonetheless, talking on a cell phone can then distract you from other activities, which leaves you more vulnerable to accidents. Therefore it can actually cost lives when drivers focused on texting or social media lose control of their vehicle and have major accidents.
Finally, concerns have been raised that exposure to radio wave radiation, transmitted by mobile phones, might cause a wide range of health problems, from cancer to infertility to less specific unpleasant symptoms. Smartphones in particular emit a form of energy known as radiofrequency waves which scientists fear could contribute to a higher risk of certain brain cancers. Studies revealed that individuals who used their mobiles for more than 15 hours each month over five years on average had between two and three times greater risk of developing glioma and meningioma tumours compared with people who rarely used their phones.
Overall, it would be unfair to paint the mobile phone industry with such a degree of negativity as it provides a good deal of convenience and security for both user and recipient alike. However, given that one in four car accidents are caused by smartphones while driving, users might want to think twice about how and where they are used.