Last Adult without a Cell Phone · 16 May 2008

I must be the only person over about 12-years old without a cell phone of my own. Or at least I thought so before I went on the wetlands field trip with the third graders in the Monroe School District last year. When the chaperones met in my third grader’s room, the teacher asked for everybody’s cell phone numbers. There was actually one other parent who said that she did not have a cell phone. She said that she figured she would be the last one alive without one. I am not quite that adamant about not having a cell phone but her sentiments made me think about those little pieces of technology.

I actually think that cell phones are useful. I have a cell phone in my car but it is not activated anymore so it can only act as an emergency phone. I found out that any deactivated cell phone can be used this way and I think that everybody ought to have one in case of emergency. With the proliferation and low cost of cell phones, car manufacturers ought to start putting an emergency phone with built-in charger into each new car they make. After all, communication during an emergency is about the only good use I can see for a cell phone.

Okay. I must admit that there are other good uses for cell phones. Being able to call your kid when he is in class taking a test is one. Of course, there are probably other better ways to keep track of our kids beside just calling them up, having them see our numbers on their screens, and then ignoring us. While I am sure that most kids answer when their parents call, there must be new technological developments that could enhance cell phones when they do not.

If every cell phone had a Global Positioning System (GPS) that could be hooked up to their own computers, parents could know exactly where their children were located. All the time. And if they develop this technology in the near future, it would especially benefit my two brothers who each have at least one daughter. In a few years, they could sit at their computers and watch where their daughters were going on not just their first but every date. And if computer and phones really will be able to connect to the internet all the time, then all concerned parents could follow their kids’ every move both electronically and if need be, physically.

Perhaps the greatest cell phone enhancement for parents would be a system where the camera and phone could be used as spy gear. If parents could look through the camera and listen in on every conversation their kids had on their cell phones, they could eliminate the need for family dinners or any face to face meeting with their children. Parents could sit in their favorite coffee shops, gyms, or even places of work and monitor their children all the time. This enhancement would eliminate the need to trust our children about anything because we could really be there with them all the time. At least electronically. Big Brother would not be watching. Instead, Mom and Dad would be seeing, hearing, and maybe even speaking.

I suppose that cell phones will probably not be getting any neat enhancements like the ones I described. At least not in the next thirty days or so. But maybe that is for the best. Maybe it is good to see and talk to our children in person rather than just interrupting them during school or visiting their web pages. It would be nice to have cell phones with GPS units in them but I would rather have an emergency locator beacon than the option to monitor my kids through their cell phones.

I will probably need to get a cell phone one day, but for now, I am happy just having a deactivated one in my car in case of an emergency. And as I sit here writing this column, I can not help but wonder if that mother from the field trip has gotten a cell phone yet. If so, I probably am the last adult without one.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Published 31 July 2008 in The RiverCurrentNews


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