Cell Phones and Social Change

Social Change at the Cellular Level

We do not think much about our cell phones when they are in our pockets or even while we are using them, or at least not consciously. Cell phones serve as a tool for communication, play, and research. With their increasing intertwinement with daily life we are beginning to depend more and more on them. With this fact, cell phones have become an integral part of social life and now even alter our social norms.

Abu Sadat Nurullah, with the University of Alberta, Writes on the effects of cell phones on societal norms. He points to how daily life has been altered by the use of personal phones by the formation of a new subculture. His article cites that the most avid users of cell phones are todays youth, and they are the focus of his analysis.

Scholastic.com

As a subculture, Nurullah states that cell phones have integrated themselves into the larger culture through their extensive adoption as tools for communication, and entertainment. How we use our phones can be dependent on a wide variety of motivating factors often outside the traditional uses of our phones. There are many psychological gratifications associated with use which are what make phones pivotal to social norms today.

Texting provides the ability to avoid unnecessary conversations, alter your self image,  and communicate more efficiently. Games and other peripheral features on phones allow the escape from local settings, killing time, and relaxation. However what is most significant is the cell phone’s roll in the formation of an adolescent individual’s personal identity. Some of the ways cell phones can effect identity formation include influencing fashion, public communication, maturity, peer groups, privacy, emotional and psychological attachment to the device, and personalization of the device. These effects have even been shown to influence social institutions such as education and political organizations/parties.

cnbc.com

Nurullah’s article opens an important dialogue on how we use our phones and why. Cell phones have an important roll in our lives, serving as helpful devices that make life more convenient and often time safer. However, we must acknowledge the fact that we cannot become to overly dependent on these devices. We also need to look at the possible effects owing cell phones can have on our children. Are these changes to social norms a good thing, and how should we address them going forward? While there is not much we can do to stop the effects of cell phones on society, we can and should ensure that our local and national policy makers are aware of the issue and take it into account in their decisions

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