The careless use of cell phones otherwise referred to as GSM in Nigeria by customers has endangered many people health. LINUS ALEKE writes that there is a
need to take precautionary measures to avoid health challenges.

 

THERE is no doubting the fact that
the only permanent thing in life is
change; however, mankind is known
to be resistant to change as is evident
in the violent crisis that often heralds
any major change in the way things
are done in the annals of human
existence.
The countless economic, political,
cultural, military and industrial
revolution of the ages bears
eloquent testimony to the aforesaid.
Meanwhile, the latest change that
mankind has to grapple with is the
digital revolution which has come to
stay. There are several positive things

about the new media but there are also
monumental negative consequences
associated with it.
The digital revolution is one of the
numerous products of human thinking,
technology, innovation and ingenuity
which are aimed at improving the
socio-economic life, revive, reposition
and remodel the antiquated ways
mankind is used to getting things done.
Digital revolution as it is fondly
referred to in certain quarters is
multi-faceted. For instance, there are
terrestrial broadcasting (radio and
television), wrist-watches, recorders,
microphones, musical equipments,
automobile, military hardware, and
above all mobile phones which is
the emphasis here. However this
clever way of getting things done by
man is generating fresh and serious
controversies from people of all races,
religion, socio-cultural and political
affiliations.
While some opined that the new
technology, particularly cell phones,
is a good development has helped
in putting the world into their
palms, a phrase to describe the word
globalisation. This is in addition
to assisting mankind to get certain
things done faster than usual such as
mathematical calculation, through the
use of cell phone’s inbuilt calculator,
checking of time with phones instead
of the usual wrist watches is also
becoming a standard practice, taking
pictures, sending massages, and
reading online books, through e-library
among others.
Some others contend that the hazard
associated with the use of cell phones
far outweighs the benefits inherent in
the use of the digital gadgets. But to
a number of others, the technology
creates good platform for social
interactions, which of course knows
no boundary. They equally added that
the business opportunity it creates to
global citizens is awesome and second
to none in the chronicle of human
existence.
Another shade of opinion also
posits that the social platform created
through the use of internet and mobile
phone has led many kids astray as
they are exposed to pornographic and
other violent movies which negatively
affect their behaviour and childhood
formation. It also leads them astray
and causes health challenges, which is
occasioned by the use of the earphone.
To this end therefore, it will be save
to observe that the array of opinions
on this matter could best be described
as different strokes for different folks.
Studies have also revealed that constant
contact of the gadget with certain parts
of human body could lead to cancerous
diseases and other dangerous ailment.
But the question is: who is right
in the argument? The first and third
category of people who opined
that the technology is a welcomed
development further defended their
position when they noted that the
benefits inherent in the new innovation
are enormous. According to them, one
can communicate with his relations,
friends, wife, husband and business
associates in other continent of the
world from the comfort of his living
room without having to travel the long
distance or wait for months before a
letter which use to be the commonest
means of communicating in the
recent past get to the intended party
in the distant country before he could
fix a business meeting or exchange
pleasantries in the case of lover.
Buttressing their point further, they
explained that the cell phone is also
used to store data, take pictures and
upload in the internet for friends to
view, read sacred books like bible,
make new friends and chat with them

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in various social media platform, etc.
They further explained that the
business opportunity it creates is
enormous as many are engaged in
the sales of cell phone, others in the
manufacturing and assembling of its
part, some other in repair and sale of
airtime while numerous others in the
services and regulation sub sector.
The remaining two categories,
however, contend that the calamity
associated with cell phone technology
is something is quite alarming.
They argued that apart from the
health implication of the use of this
new technology, it also promotes
criminality such as kidnapping,
sexual harassment, corruption, and
adulteration of innocent minds etc.
It is common knowledge according
to them that some commercial sex
workers are exploiting the existence
of the social media platform to
promote their illicit trade by
uploading their nude or half nude
pictures on the internet with contact
numbers and prices of the sexual
escapade attached for interested
customers to contact them.
There are also reported cases of
ladies who had in the recent past fallen
victims of ritual killings through
friends they meet on facebook,
that is in addition to few who were
crushed by incoming vehicle due to
their absent mindedness to the road
following their indulgence on cell
phones, either pinging or chatting.
The case of an unfortunate Youth
Corp member who was crushed in
Lagos Nigeria by incoming truck
because of his absent mindedness
while chatting with his phone is a
case in point.
They also included the ineptitude
and nonchalance of Consumer
Protection Council (CPC) and
Nigerian Communication
Commission (NCC) in protecting
mobile phone subscribers in Nigeria
from undue exploitation by telecom
operators as another minus to the
technology in developing countries
like Nigeria.
The group further contend that it
is common knowledge that young
college students also perform poorly
in exams because they pay more
attention to their phones and social
media than studies, ‘you see most of
them playing with their cell phones
either listening to music or chatting
with friends while lecture is ongoing
in classes.’ They argued.
It is however advised that
parents, school authorities, relevant
institutions and stakeholders have
a role to play in terms of awareness
campaign a safer way of using the
GSM cell phones.

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Mr. Aleke is a media practitioner
and researcher based in Abuja

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