A cellular phone epidemic is quickly spreading and no one is safe. College students everywhere are becoming infected and simply loving it.
“Everyone has a cell-phone,” said Tamara Smith, a junior Political Science major. “If you look on campus, everyone is always talking on the phone.”
Cell-phones are becoming more popular among college students because of their sudden affordability and the benefits that cellular providers and plans offer.
“With Sprint PCS, I get 2000 minutes each month, free long distance and the bill is always the same price, ” Smith said.
Many cell-phone options are affordable for college students, ranging from $25 to $75 per month, offering free or low cost long distance and sensible minute plans.
Cell-phones are an added convenience to campus life, allowing friends and family to contact you at any time and also serving as a lifesaver in emergency situations.
“My dad wanted me to have a cell-phone when I started college in case of emergencies,” said Dawn Rittenhouse, a junior Elementary Education major. “It only costs $10 a month and it really comes in handy.”
Easy accessibility and low monthly rates are boosting cellular profits, while simultaneously sending pay phones to early communication graves.
There are still 2.1 million pay phones in America, according to the Scripps Howard News Service, but that is a nearly 20 percent drop in two years.
While pay phones are not extinct yet, there has also been a considerable 10 percent to 20 percent decrease in usage over the past few years. With the disappearance of many pay phones and the significant drop in usage, pay phone revenues have experienced a sharp hit.
This economic bust has left many pay phone companies and providers trying to figure out a creative way to compete with the wireless competition, which is steadily taking over the telecommunication world.
The rise of cell-phone usage is directly linked to the fall of pay phones.
There are approximately 100 million wireless phones in use nationwide, and the number continues to grow quickly, as they become smaller and cheaper.
Conditions and locations of pay phones are also causing many students to purchase cell-phones.
Who wants to use a sticky, germ infested street corner pay phone, when they could just use a cell-phone whenever and wherever they want?
“I like being able to call someone when I want to without trying to find a pay phone,” said Russell Johnson, a junior Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media major.
“I use it when I have to. I don’t have a cell-phone just to have a cell-phone. A lot of people have cell-phones so they can impress people or look cool, but they just end up looking stupid.”
Once an exclusive status symbol for the rich, cell-phones are no longer just for doctors and lawyers. The cell-phone is evolving from a status symbol to a stylish symbol, from a bulky bag you kept in your car to a palm-size interactive tool.
Affordable rates, which can accommodate to any student’s wallet, are making the cell-phone into a cool, necessary and stylish accessory to have, even if you’re not delivering babies or defending a client in court.
Thanks to the average American, the cell phone industry is estimated to be worth $19 billion a year and is continually growing.
With the wireless breakthrough onto college campuses, the 25-and-under age group is one of the fastest growing demographics.
With cell-phones’ popularity skyrocketing, they are starting to surge a love-hate relationship among some students and teachers.
“It is the worst when cell-phones go off during class or during exams,” Smith said, even though she wouldn’t think of giving up her cell-phone. “I always turn my phone off out of respect for the teacher and the students in my class.”
“It gets crazy when you hear all of these phones constantly going off,” Rittenhouse said. “It gets really annoying sometimes.”
Rittenhouse says she only uses her phone during the week to talk to her boyfriend and parents.
Face it, cell-phones are becoming a part of the college experience, and whether you love them or hate them, students worldwide are answering wireless’s tempting call and making it their communication connection.
DANGERS OF CELL-PHONE USE
By Josh Cornfield
Walking down the street nowadays is like walking through an open-air telemarketing office.
People young and old walk and talk on cellular phones in all shapes, sizes, colors and styles. Some seem to be talking to themselves when in reality they have a mouth and ear piece attached to their mobile telephone.
It seems a convenient, and only moderately annoying, situation.
In a car, however, cell-phone use becomes more than just annoying, it becomes downright dangerous.
85 percent of America’s 110 million cell-phone owners use their phones while driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
People using cell phones while driving are less aware of their surroundings, according to a NHTSA study, and more prone to get into an accident.
Mandy Burns learned this the hard way.
Burns’ 18-year old daughter, Sara, was killed in a car accident in Kansas by a driver who was speaking on a cell-phone.
“A useless phone call killed my child,” Burns told the New York Times. “The driver was talking with some girl on the phone. Nothing of any importance.”
Burns is among a growing number of people trying to get the government to tighten controls and impose regulations on cell-phone usage while driving.
State legislatures, 35 so far, have been dealing with bills submitted to curb cell-phone usage. 22 nations already have legislation in place to restrict people from driving and talking.
In Britian it is illegal to talk on hand-held phones and all types of mobile phones are banned in very high tech countries like Japan and Israel.
Another problem with cell-phones is the radiation emitted. Studies have shown a possible link between use and tumors, caused by the Electromagnetic fields produced from a phone.
But a study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute of 420,000 Danish cell-phone users found no link between cell phones and cancer. Opponents of the study cite that it only followed users for three years and that phones have become even more powerful since that time.
Even with the study, many people still worry about their health when using a cell-phone. Some, though, like the driver that killed Sara Burns, still insist on using their phones- carcinogenic or not- while driving.
An annoyance or godsend, cell-phones still involve dangers many are not ready to call up.