BEtween friends: Cellphone – Boon and bane PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 November 2014 11:10

By Linda Cababa-Espinosa, Ed. D.


The one modern invention that has invaded the most lives today is the ubiquitous cellphone.  Starting out as a small palm-sized friend, it has gradually improved in size and technological capacity as a handy companion of young and old, employed and unemployed, rich and poor. I have come across people who say that it is the one thing they can’t leave the house without, the one thing they need to have around the house or the office all the time to assure constant contact with members of the family, friends, relatives, and the rest of the world.  For all these people who have found the cellphone highly indispensable, I feel a little sorry because there may have been times when a greater and more important need may have been passed off in favor of the acquisition of a cellphone.

One day several years ago, when the gadget had just been introduced as a novel and practical part of man’s life, I came across an unforgettable experience.

I was coming from my last morning class and going home for lunch. I had waited in the sun for a tricycle for about 15 minutes. It was high noon, the sun scorching hot, and I was worried about the kids not eating their lunch on time.  I decided I would find another place to wait and maybe get lucky.  So I moved farther up the road hoping for less competition over there.

I stopped near an old street sweeper armed with a stick broom and dustpan standing in the shade of a clump of bamboo that happened to grow by the wayside.  I immediately took possession of the rest of the shade. The old man looked tired and hungry.  As I stood there, I saw him rummaging his side pockets. I thought he was looking for the sandwich or whatever it was he was going to have for lunch.  What he brought out though was a cellphone. I couldn’t believe it!  At that time one couldn’t own a cellphone for less than a thousand pesos and this was the time when second hand phone shops were not yet established. I thought the only way that man could have gotten one was if he found a phone someone had lost, or someone generous had gifted him, or he had stolen it.  Getting it with his own money would have required a tremendous sacrifice.  And the confidence with which he punched the keys told me he’d had the phone for some time.  As I watched him from the corner of my eyes, I wondered how many meals he had missed and other necessities he had given up to save for it and now maintain it loaded.

What started out as something that could bring positive joy to people in terms of keeping warm relationships has now devolved into irritating scams and promos from companies trying to sell their products, regardless of time, that send one’s phone ringing in the unholy hours of dawn like a job offer in Dubai in the Middle East at 1:45 am.  Or an advertisement for new homes one can easily own at 2:45 am.  Or a congratulatory note that one’s SIM had won Php 780,000.00 complete with the address of the person from whom to claim it and where.  This one came at 3:20 am.

If these are professionally honest ads why do they come in at the ungracious hours when the brain is muddled with sleep to think straight?  Where and how do they get the private numbers of the people they disturb?

The one that tops them all was a message that accused the recipient’s family as being deep in debt, engaged in swindling and being shameless! This came in at 3:00 am.

Turning off the phone at night before going to bed would be a good idea except that it entirely negates why one has a phone to be able to receive and sent messages at any time, day or night, especially on emergency situations.

The cellphone since its invention, has proven to be a wonderful and excellent product of man’s brilliance.  Undeniably, it has made life more exciting, comfortable, and has brought the rest of the world nearer home.  It is a pity that its misuse can derange the harmony and quiet of one’s life.