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Too Much of a Good Thing: Cell Phone Abuse

19 Oct, 2009    (By: Thom Hunter)

Views: 5977

Whether in Brisbane or Beijing, Los Angeles or London, from teenagers to senior adults, cell phone addiction is rising. And as more and more cell phone users put their mobile phones above all else in their lives, the effect on family and on themselves borders on abuse. In fact, cell phone addiction is a problem worldwide, leading to the creation of treatment programs for those who just can’t put it down.

Cell phones provide convenience, improve safety, generate business and keep people connected, but without boundaries, even life-saving technology like the cell phone can be abused. The ability to talk to anyone, anywhere and at any time is more power than some can handle. Most abuse is linked to either over-use or use that encroaches on other’s personal space.

Spotting Cell Phone Abuse
Some abuse is casual and annoying: the loud talker at the next table in the restaurant, the texter in the movie theater, the incessant conversationalist on the bus or train.
Some abuse is dangerous:  the distracted driver engaged in conversation, the parent chatting away while a child wanders into danger.
Some abuse is personally destructive: the teenager who chatters into the night with homework untouched, the out-of-control talker-texter who discovers an outrageous bill at the end of the month. 
Time Magazine cited study of more than 1,600 13-to-15-year-olds in Belgium. Scientists at Katholieke University Leuven found that almost 60% of students used their cell phones to talk or text message after turning their lights out at bedtime. After following the kids for one year, the researchers report that teens who used their cell phone more than once a week after lights-out were five times more likely than kids who never used cell phones at bedtime to say they felt tired one year later. The later the teens stayed awake with their phones, the more tired they were. Most teens concentrated their phone use around midnight, but some continued communicating well past 3 a.m.
Counteracting Cell Phone Abuse
Whether you are the victim or the abuser, you can take steps. If a cell phone user is invading your space in a restaurant, let your waiter know. In a theater, contact an usher. On the bus or train? Unfortunately, you may just have to move to a different seat or try tuning out.
If you are an abuser yourself, these hints will help you take control of your mobile technology.
Set Limits. The phone belongs to you; you don’t belong to the phone. Choose specific times during the day when you can chat without it hitting your conscience. Track your cell phone time use in a journal and see how much of your day you’re talking away. If you still can’t control the time, invest a few dollars in Call Limiter technology such as the software package from which actually allows you to set time limits on calling. You’ll enjoy the relief . . . and so will everyone around you.
Create Alternatives. Remember the things you enjoyed before you were spending all your time on the cell phone? Like actually following a television show, spending time really listening to your family, enjoying the scenery on a drive?
Develop Real Relationships. Sit across the dinner table and look into someone’s eyes instead of the telephone keypad. You’ll remember why you wanted to call them in the first place.
If your cell phone is impacting you or those around you in a negative way, that’s abusive. Putting measures in place before it becomes addictive can save you money and relationships and maybe even your seat on the bus.

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