Use and Abuse of Mobile Phones

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Let me begin by saying that the advent of mobile phones has been one of the unique features of modern day information technology (IT) technologies. It has been so, for all sections of the people all over the world, particularly those of the business community, traders both big and small. It has given a new dimension to personal communication helping people to be in touch with one another during times of sickness in the family or an emerging crisis. Here in Bangladesh there are yet other specific uses of mobile phones, like monitoring and getting in touch to know the whereabouts of one's near and dear ones during riots and road blocks, vandalism on the streets including the unprecedented traffic jams. Besides, mobile phones also come handy for parents to locate and communicate with their school-going children while they are away. Our streets have become unsafe also due to terror acts like kidnapping of young girls and boys for ransom. Mobile phones, therefore, have become indispensible also for young school, and college-going boys and girls. In Bangladesh like elsewhere mobile phones have also become one of the key elements of communication for law enforcing and the intelligence agencies. All said and done however one cannot overlook some of the typical abuses of the mobile phones that take place here in this country.

I find it to be heavily misused by our younger generation. I have come across young people talking and gossiping on issues of no consequence. They often talk through out the night leaving their studies. To my mind mobile phones are also instrumental in causing irreparable damage to morals of our younger generation who often use it at random for viewing pornography.

Of great annoyance is also this business of people talking over mobile phones while crossing roads or driving cars. The other day while I was on my way to Gulshan from Dhanmandi when all too suddenly appeared a young man driving his car with his mobile phone in one hand and the other on the steering. Incidentally he was trying to overtake my car through the left side of the road. We narrowly escaped a major accident.

May be I am old fashioned. The other day I met an old friend of mine while taking a walk in the park. At one stage of our conversation we fixed an appointment for us to meet at my residence at a particular time the following day. As I was about to part our ways he insisted that I provide him with my mobile number, should something else came up, so that he can duly inform me of his inability to keep the appointment or reschedule it for another day. He was indeed shocked when he learnt that I did not own a mobile phone. In not too long ago we were as committed to keep our appointment at any one today even if it were arranged days before. Emergencies aside, I feel the truth of it all lies somewhere else, we have lost our grip on self-confidence.

On a different note I was somewhat disturbed when I overheard some one telling the caller at the other end that he was currently out of the city and was on his way to Sylhet or some such place and that he would call him upon his return a few days after. This happened while he was actually standing in front of the mosque in the city from where he had just come out after offering prayers. He could not have done it on a land phone. Indeed in telling lies, misleading and misguiding one another have become a second nature with the aid of mobile phones on one pretext or the other.

As it is, we, Bangladeshis have a habit of talking too much and that too more of nonsense than sense. The other day my wife and I were on our way to Sylhet on a brief holiday. We were travelling in an air conditioned coach. Soon as the journey began I looked back and saw a gentleman talking over telephone to someone in Sylhet literally shouting at the top of his voice.

Most of the conversations rallied round such matters like what food is being cooked, we are now crossing Madhabdi, how is my niece? I...
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