Technology

May 10, 2010
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Many people think electronics are the best thing that has ever happened to our country. One could say it’s been pretty nice to have computers, mobile phones, and music players—but it’s changed the way we perceive things now. Some parents tell their kids to call them but they don’t like talking on the phone, texting is more “casual” and easier to communicate. That’s nonsense; wouldn’t a person talking directly to another person through a phone call be a lot faster than text messages taking five minutes to send and another three to send back? In this essay I’ll cover the different stages of electronics, the absurd statistics about cell phone users—which I will add is pretty insane, and lastly the latest “cool thing to do” in teens’ minds, texting while driving.

Technology has changed throughout the years. Back in the old days there were records that sounded very fuzzy like a bad signal on a telephone. Then it turned into the cassette tape; the cassette faded away and soon morphed into an 8-track CD, which our parents most likely were the ones who enjoyed them. Now-a-days the iPod/iTouch is the entire rave; listening to music has gone from a big huge box to a small item that can fit in your pocket! Computers weren’t even in existence until the 1980’s.

So many people in this generation have become very dependent on technology. Kids in school go straight to their computers when they are introduced to a new research project. It’s as if they don’t know how to look for information in books. When our parents were in school, they didn’t even have computers so going straight to the books was normal to them. We have everything at our fingertips with all of these professional search engines yet why are so many kids failing classes? Cell phones are the answer to that.

According to Glenn Elert, author of The Physics Factbook, the number of people with cell phones in 1984 was only seven thousand. Just ten years later the number increased to twenty-four million! Now, in 2010, seventy-two percent of the United States own a cell phone—that’s 222 plus million people. This came from a survey on [www.lunchovertip.com]. The average age a kid gets a cell phone for the first time is eight years old according to the U.K. Personal Finance Education Group. This has changed so much in the last few years—when I got my cell phone last year [2009], I was 14 years old. The average age of kids getting a cell was 12 years old! In a little over a year that number dropped down to just 8 years old. That’s 1st and 2nd graders we’re talking about!

In the late 90’s/early 2000’s, cell phones became very popular and everyone had to have. There wasn’t really a lot of texting but in 2010, texting has become Americans’ new non-drug addiction. Yeah, sure, it can be convenient at times but Reas Tolle, a reporter from ION Network, asked one thousand people what they thought about texting. Thirty-seven percent of the people said they check their phones while in a conversation, forty-nine percent said they hate it when people are so focused on their phones while in a conversation, and the other fourteen percent didn’t really care. The RAC Foundation asked two thousand members of the social networking site, Facebook, to self report if they text while driving and forty-five percent admitted doing so.

That brings me to my next topic, texting while driving [TWD]. Recently, VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a crash than “nondistracted” drivers. Jennifer Guevin, a reporter for CNET, also found that “texting took a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. Clemson University did a simulater study in December ’07 and found that texting or using iPods caused drivers to leave their lanes ten percent more often. Fifty percent of drivers ages eighteen to twenty-four text while they drive. The law firm of Edgar & Associates have done extensive series of studies on drivers that text and drive. One of them was that TWD causes a four hundred percent increase in time spend with eyes off the road. In 2008, driver distractions [texting, talking on cell, iPods, etc.] was the reason that ten thousand teen drivers between the ages of sixteen and seventeen crashed. Twenty-one percent of fatal car crashes involving teens between sixteen and nineteen years was because of text messaging—that’s one in five crashes. The bad part about that is that it’s expected to increase five percent each year. We need to do something to get rid of this “driving while intexticated” business, TWD is a very serious issue that needs to be resolved very quickly.

People are trying to make an effort to change those crazy statistics. Twenty-one states and The District of Columbia have banned all cell phone use to novice drivers. Seventeen states and D.C. have prohibited cell phone use to bus drivers only when passengers are present; key word[s] only when passengers are present, so if no one’s on except the driver [s]he can text/call away? That’s ludicrous! Only nine states ban novice drivers from only texting, and only one state bans bus drivers from texting. One could say that’s pretty ridiculous—obviously we still need to work on these laws.

Everyone can agree that our electronics have gone through so many phases. Some very innovative—some just plain nonsense. Honestly, what’s a person going to do with “The World’s Smallest Cell Phone” that is smaller than a computer mouse? I also explained that only thirteen states ban TWD, that’s very pathetic—we need more than that! with al this technology becoming mainstream, so many more people are getting all the latest gadgets replacing the old one that worked perfectly fine. Don’t be one of those people who break under pressure and buy the newest, coolest contraptions.





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