If you are like many American’s you now feel naked if you forget your phone at home. It’s hard to remember what it was like before cellular telephones, though it was not really all that long ago.
Long ago, in a galaxy far far away where rotary dial telephones were attached to walls, telephone booths stood on corners as the original version of the pay as you go phone, which then moved to cordless phones where you were free to move about your house as you talked, and then on to pagers so you could be reached if you were out of the house or office. But nothing has revolutionized communication quite like the invention of the cell phone.
Originally a luxury item for the rich, installed in cars they slowly, as the technology became available, got smaller and more compact until they were manageable enough, small enough and affordable enough that the general population could obtain them.
These days nearly everyone has one. Kids, adults, there are even programs to give the homeless cell phones. These are not just telephones any longer. Making a call is the very least of what these devices can do. Is it any wonder it has blown up into a full-blown addiction?
Addiction is defined as a compulsive need for and or use of a habit-forming substance or item that can be detrimental to your well-being.
How do you know if you qualify as a phone addict? Answer the following questions to see where you score:
1. Are you distressed to realize you have left the house without your phone?
2. If you are more than half way to your destination, do you turn around and go back to get it, even though you are not expecting an important call?
3. If the answer is no, you do not go back, do you spend the day/evening complaining to your companions that you forgot your phone?
4. Do you keep reaching for the phone, even though you know it isn’t currently with you?
5. Do you find yourself playing with your phone even though you are in the company of others, avoiding personal conversation and even eye contact?
6. Do you compulsively text, even while at work?
7. Do you hide your phone bill from a spouse or loved one?
8. Would it cause you anxiety to have your phone taken away for a week (assuming you did not need it for work)?
9. Do you feel somewhat like it has become an electronic leash, allowing people to find you no matter where you go?
If you have answered yes to two or more of these questions, you may want to unplug for a little while!
But…! (You say to yourself) It isn’t hurting anyone!
Is this really true?
This national phone and texting addiction is quite the oxymoron. Though it connects you socially to a multitude of friends never before thought possible though social networking sites, our face to face interactions and communication skills seem to be dropping off as everyone wanders through life starring and fixated on the small electronic box in their hands.
Along with this weirdly limiting social aspect, comes the anxiety of not having it when you think you need it. It has become for many the safety blanket of adulthood.
Worse than the perceived psychological needs are the actual physical dangers – cell phones emit radio frequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held. So far studies have been inconclusive as to whether or not the radiation directly causes DNA structural damage which leads to cancer or not, but the American Cancer Society along with The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are strongly suggesting some steps that cell phone users can take to reduce the exposure to radio frequency energy.
*Reserve the use of cell phones for shorter conversations or for times when a landline is not available.
*Use a hands free device, which places more distance between the phone and the head of the user. Models available that are mounted on the outside of the car are the most preferred.
When you think about this logically, the frequency emitted is a microwave. Yes, just like the oven. Microwave energy oscillates at millions to billions of cycles per second. It promotes rapid cell aging and heating. The microwave oven has been documented for years as making cancerous cells grow more aggressively and comes with a warning label, yet cell phones so far do not.
Brain cancer rates in USA have increased by 25% since 1975. Cell phones today seem to be what tobacco and cigarettes were 40 years ago – deemed safe, cool and fun despite the massive evidence against claims that they are safe for use. All in the name of big business and profit.
So, next time you forget your cell phone at home. Don’t fret. Rejoice! You are giving your body, mind and soul (not to mention your thumbs!) a much-needed break from the microwaves and from a compulsion to communicate every moment of every day.
Instead look around you and enjoy the company you are in, and appreciate the experience of being fully present here and now.