Everyone remembers the Matrix movie where the phone is one’s connection into the grid and you can hyper-transport to anywhere you want to go. It seems great till you realize that the phone is why the grid has its tentacles into you all the time. The iPhone is the umbilical cord that has insidiously eaten away your freedom. Brothers and Sisters, Big and Small, are always watching. How horrible is that?

It gets worse. The cell phone will drive us all to distraction. Of course, driving distracted with a phone is a leading vehicular problem, but more than that, the phone disrupts your life tremendously, and not just when driving. The cell phone is the leading cause of interruption in one’s daily routine. Why do we allow it to be so? If a person interrupted you ever so often while you were reading, talking or just trying to get things done, you would consider it rude. Yet we are infinitely forgiving of this inanimate object, showering it with gratitude for making a mess of our day!

The segment of the population most impacted are teens to young adults, who have been raised by a cell phone. They spend more time interacting with it than with humans, books, or nature. Being raised on a steady diet of information driblets, much of it vacuous talk, is the most unhealthy foundation on which to grow one’s mind.

It is a parasite that is destroying young minds. It sucks away useful time and destroys concentration. My casual empiricism suggests that even if there are two five minute calls each hour, each of which lead to a further loss of five minutes each in terms of interruption of some other tasks, we lose one-third of our waking hours to this scourge. For students, in terms of study time and quality of life, this is a humungous cost. In terms of mental development, the long term costs are catastrophic.

A recent study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that excessive cell phone usage results in a 25% drop in a student’s grades. So a student with a 4.0 GPA falls off to a 3.0 GPA. Its become that easy to depreciate an A-student to a B-level one.

The study also showed that interruptions from a cell phone not only impacted the receiver’s performance, but it also distracted others and impacted them negatively too. Its become as bad as second-hand smoking! Maybe even worse, because while the number of smokers is declining, the number of young cell-phone addicts is climbing exponentially.

The parallels with smoking hardly end there. Have you noticed how funny it is that the orbital region of 20 feet from the entrance to a building is mostly populated by smokers or cell phone users? Sometimes the poor victim has succumbed to both scourges. Have you noticed that the way people walk when smoking or cell-phoning seems strangely similar? Self-absorption with a glazed-over look. Blissfully and self-importantly unaware of impending doom. The only problem is that we have not yet invented a “patch” for cell phone quitters.

Cell phones are of course lawful. There is no legal age before one can get a cell phone. I’d like to propose disallowing it for anyone below the age of 25. It would save an entire generation from academic deterioration and lay the groundwork for a better society. My advice to all you college undergrads is this: make the cell phone the xPhone.


One Response to xPhone

  1. Ruchir says:

    The comparison of a cell phone with the Ciggarette is uncanny ! A great article.

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