Down the Lane: The good, bad and ugly of cell phones

Published 9:32 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

When I first heard of a cell phone I was in amazement at the thought of someone being able to talk anywhere, like in the vehicle, away from any electricity.

That feeling has never waned.

I still find it amazing you can be in your car or thousands of miles away from home and be able to call a family member or anyone else and be able to hear them as plain as if they were in the next room.

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To put it mildly, it blows my mind when I think of how far we have come in terms of telephones and other communication.

Just imagine what Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the first telephone, would think if he were here to see what has replaced his phone of so long ago.

I believe he would join me in my amazement if he took a ride with me and I used my cell phone to call someone and put it to his ear to hear a voice on the other line. I get a smile on my face just to imagine that scene.

If the car and its speed didn’t get him, the cell phone would surely do the job.

The first mobile phone was invented and demonstrated in 1973, (yes, it has been that long ago) by Martin Cooper who worked as a general manager of the Motorola Company. Those who were lucky enough to own one impressed all of us who didn’t.

I remember they were big and clunky and took up quite a bit of space in a car. I read the first cell phone cost around $3,900. Sometimes I think I have paid that much when I add up all that I have put towards having a cell phone.

Then came the iPhone and other smartphones. Who knows what will come next.

These cell phone advances never cease to impress, especially when I can talk to “Siri” and tell her to do work for me.

However, I see both the good and bad of having a cell phone.

I know it was invented to help us with communication and make our life easier. Sometimes, I think it is almost too easy for us.

I think we have come to depend on our cell phones entirely too much. While I feel much more secure when I have my cell phone with me, I have noticed it takes up too much of my time.

I feel I am in a panic if I have forgotten my cell phone at home. I used to get in my car and take trips and never even think of having a phone with me.

I now find myself returning home to get my cell phone if I have forgotten it. We used to feel safe on the highways and depended on the goodness of other people to help us if we had trouble. Now, we would not think of taking a trip without our phone.

The good thing about it is our families can keep up with us and feel better at home without worrying about us.

We can even text them if they are at meetings and can not take a call.

I think all of this is wonderful and I love that part of it.

I love it when I can take a picture quickly from my phone, save only the ones I want and delete the ones I do not want. I love being able to send those to others.

I especially love how handy the cellphone camera is in situations like this weekend, when my daughter could send me a video of my granddaughter, Olivia, singing the National Anthem at the Lexington Legends game. (By the way, she knocked it out of the park and did wonderful.)

I was able to send this to others so they could hear her.

I love when I can find my way in an area I do not know by talking to “Siri.”

Like I said, all of this is amazing.

But with the good comes the bad.

What was invented for communication I feel has negatively affected the way we communicate personally.

I have noticed so much of my time is spent on Facebook or texting much more than I ever used my regular phone.

If I hear a bing on my phone, I have to go right then to check it out. It is a sneaky waste of time for me.

While I think I will just spend a few minutes on the phone, I find myself spending more time than I wanted. That time is quickly used up when I could have been doing something more productive.

I do not like when cell phones are taking away from face-to-face conversations with others.

I consider how cellphones have impacted my grandchildren. My grandson has become very attached to his phone is a short time. This is taking away times he could be learning or doing other valuable things.

I see the same in all of our youth today, and not just in my grandson. This scares me.

I wonder how many kids in today’s world would be able to take a map and figure out how to get to a location on their own.

There are so many things I feel are lost to society because of cell phones.

Though I am amazed by a cell phone, they scare me.

The price of keeping one is even more frightening.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.