The Mobile Phone Connects Us To and Disconnects Us From Society



Bailey Klink

If you could remember a time before everybody owned a computer they could hold in their pocket, most people did not have their eyes glued to their phone 24/7. The world and society were much different then.

If you were to watch “Starsky and Hutch” today, a lot of young viewers would get up and yell at their television. Detectives and police officers would let criminals slip away because they couldn’t find a phone booth.

If people are late for work today or unavailable, they can be immediately reached by their mobile phone. Nobody is truly inaccessible or off the grid. The mobile phone has changed our attitudes and expectations about everything and everyone we talk to.

The mobile phone has brought both positivity and negativity into our lives. It is the double-edged sword that resides in our pockets at all times. The phone allows us instant contact with our loved ones from across the world at any moment. It can be used to solve complex problems at the touch of our fingertips.

On the other side of the sword, cell phones drag us out of reality and into their screens to distract us from the real world. The average American spends up to 11 hours a day looking at a screen, whether it’s on a television, cell phone or tablet.

Our phones keep us from talking to people on an airplane or a subway. 15 years ago, constant conversation would be carried out on public transportation. Societal norms have now shifted to a mind-your-own-business attitude, and it seems to be frowned upon to talk to strangers.

After reading an article from titled Subway Riders Film Man Kicking Elderly Woman in the Face Instead of Trying to Help, it really showed me how much people are glued to their devices. A middle-aged man walked up to a 78-year-old woman and kicked her in the face repeatedly while three or more people stood by and watched. It is unclear what the woman said to the man beforehand, but there is no justification for this man’s actions, and for those who stood idly by to watch this crime be committed.

People today would rather film other people’s pain and suffering for entertainment than help. This idea is shown in the “Black Mirror” episode “15 million Merits.” When Bing finally gets his new friend to the “Hot Shot” television show, she sings amazingly, but is  deemed too sexy for singing by the judge and is coerced into becoming a porn star. The crowd agrees, and she was turned into a sex worker for the remainder of her life.

Bing is upset so he appears on the show pleading his story and demonstrating his anger about the world we live in. The crowd and the judges all loved watching and hearing his pain. It turned him into an instant star, but at what cost? People today are more interested in watching other people’s demise than bringing others up.

I was drawn to another article from The video attached opens up with a news story, and the woman broadcasting on scene said: “If you were to walk up on a crime, the moral thing to do would be pull out your cellphone and dial 9-1-1, but in this case, people hit record instead, watched a man died and walked home scot-free.”

She brings up a video of teens watching and filming a man drowning while laughing. These stories really give me less hope in the world today. Why does everyone have this mind-their-own-business mentality? It seems as if I can’t rely on my fellow neighbor or human to help me in a time of dire need.

Some states have a duty-to-report law, like Texas and Minnesota. But could you rely on your neighbor to call the police or help in a time of life and death?

The world today is a different place, and it all started with the mobile phone, connecting us digitally, but disconnecting us from the world physically.

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