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What Are Our Mobile Phones Really Costing Us?

The true value and price above and beyond the collection of materials used in making the mobile phone and contract or top up use.

technology at our fingertips

Many new generations will have only known a world of instant messaging and the ability to be telephoning someone from any corner of the world. Yet there was a time before mobiles, there was a time we communicated with connectedness and etiquette for disturbing the other’s peace by a ringtone of a ring ring, now you can choose any kind of ringtone, none at all/silence and notification tone/tune. 

What is the reality of mobile phones’ real cost? Let’s begin with a time in 1987 in my English Class in a classroom in Yorkshire after the prevalence of the new mobile phone, the size of a breeze block humped around on ‘Yuppies’ shoulders it seemed hilarious taking a phone around with you, in a car, or wherever you go. Our English teacher, Mrs Bannister very seriously in the way of a kind of ominous and fearful way, asked us to put our pens down and look at her. She went on to say, that there will be a time when we will have no privacy, always be contactable, have electronic mail sent 24/7, that anywhere in the world you can be on a video call on mobile phones. Her advice on this crisis was “Savour this time, every precious moment, there will be no turning back now. There will be a time where our language will change to extreme abbreviation like you becoming just the letter U..” we all laughed, unimaginable at that time and she went on “your time your privacy will have data, all sorts of information about you will be there on the click of a button like on computers…” To be truthful it just seemed so unreal and bizarre, to all of us, imagine a video call anywhere, what if you weren’t dressed properly? And time, well surely that’s controllable and we can manage our time, calls aren’t that important to have to use them every day. 

Fast forward ten years to 1998 when I had my first mobile phone! The way in which I could call up wherever to whomever I chose, and if their phone (always landlines) were engaged there was a system that as soon as they hung up my phone would immediately call them back, whoah I thought this is cool. And on a train that was delayed for an hour a lady sat near me was due for an interview and would miss the appointment so I said “do you have their number?” And she replied “yes but for what good is that?” I then offered for her to use my mobile phone and let them know that you are delayed and she did, she was so grateful she gave me a little Mary the Madonna catholic charm because she was so grateful and relieved to have had my kindness. Nowadays, it’s taken for granted only 22 years on, a gesture like that is appreciated. Yet, mobiles are used for so many things, how humanly connected are we? We can post something up on social media and connect with so many people, sadly at the expense of all those we hold dear and close to us. 

We have all seen those families in restaurants whereby parents are texting on their mobiles, and children playing video games on their tablets. So sad. Yet this is ‘advanced technology’ and even now many developments are being made in VR technology so we don’t have to go anywhere or learn anything yet virtually go anywhere we want artificially. What on Earth has happened to us?

Many people rely on mobiles for anything, any whim or fancy, business or personal or both at the same time! And now emojis are so prevalent in social life that they can become branded goods on sale in shops as pencil cases etcetera. 

What is the price you are willing to pay for your time and peace and privacy? Answer is we have already paid that, as most people these days know only a Technology Directed life, and notice, I have not disclosed any brand terms because the issue is within our hands we choose what or why or how much we use these bits of machinery, that do eventually pollute the environment, something I was active with back then in the 1980’s after Live Aid and Friends of the Earth highlighted our waste and climate crisis. And many folks don’t realise the impact our everyday living affects the planet we live on and are locked in a bubble from the era before mobile phones were made popular and accessible. We have that to contend with as well as our global climate crisis; and no one could have anticipated the impact of emails we send or are sent cost in energy consumption on the servers of our magical data storage system!  

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