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YouSpeak: Cell Phones in Our Lives

Are we using them too much?


Sometime next year, the number of cell phones in use will exceed the number of people on the planet. That’s the forecast of the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations agency responsible for information and communications technologies, which predicts cell phone subscriptions will reach about 7.3 billion in 2014. The device has been adopted faster than any other consumer technology in history.

But with such rapid growth comes lots of grousing. You can’t go to a movie or play without someone’s phone going off. On the T, you’re often subjected to very personal—and very loud—chatter. And what about those friends at dinner, who think nothing of answering their phone in the middle of a conversation?

Then there are the deeper, philosophical questions mobile technology has prompted, such as whether our constant texting and tweeting are eroding the art of conversation.

What do you think? This week’s “YouSpeak” asks: “Do people use their cell phones too much?”

YouSpeak” typically appears on Mondays.

If you have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask, post it in the Comments section below.

Erik Duda, Multimedia Producer video film, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Erik Duda

Erik Duda can be reached at erikduda@bu.edu.

6 Comments on YouSpeak: Cell Phones in Our Lives

  • Sigmachibrother on 10.21.2013 at 8:03 am

    As a member of sigma chi, I teach my fellow brothers respect. We talk in person, sure we text and tweet, but when we are at meetings and mixers, it’s all face to face baby

  • Jim on 10.21.2013 at 8:16 am

    So here is an interesting test of the allure of social media. The other night I went to dinner with some friends, ages 25 to 35.

    The challenge:

    Everyone phone had to be on vibrate.

    Every mobile device had to be placed with the screen up so each person could see if they got e-mail, a text, a call, well, you get the idea.

    No phone may be touched or used in any way and can not leave the table until the bill is paid.

    The first person to touch their phone pays the entire dinner bill.

    If you fail this test, you’re addicted, period.

    Try it; it makes for a very interesting dinner.

    Learn to speak to your friend’s in-person and not always on a mobile device!

    • Jim in NOLA on 10.22.2013 at 7:21 pm

      That is one of the most awesome ideas I’ve ever heard in regards to cell phones and social media! I love it!

  • Max on 10.21.2013 at 9:48 am

    Slow new day, eh? :)

    It’s not about cellphones, it’s about their owners’ manners. If you disrespect your fellow human beings, you will answer phones during concerts and on the T and during dinners with friends. Half a century ago the same would apply to portable radios being on during ball games, I guess.

    Japan has 100% phone use but you never hear anyone talking on the subway and everyone’s phone is on vibrate all the time. It’s worth learning from them.

  • ironic on 10.21.2013 at 2:28 pm

    Watching this on my phone right now…

  • Doreen Miller on 10.22.2013 at 7:53 am

    I am one of those dinosaurs that do not own a cell phone and do not want one. They are overused and misused to the point of being obnoxious and even dangerous. It seems people are afraid of being alone or with their own thoughts for any extended period of time. How sad.

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