Thursday, August 06, 2009

Upwardly Mobile

BBC News are reporting this morning that 93% of people in Northern Ireland have a mobile phone, which is 4% higher than the national average (89% in the UK), and a big rise since last year (85%). With approximately 1.75 million people in Northern Ireland, that means that there are just 122,500 left without a mobile phone in the province. Staggering figures, which must mean that just the very youngest and the very oldest don't have mobiles in the digital age.

It makes you wonder at what age children are getting mobile phones these days. Is it the latest accessory at Playgroups and Pre-Schools now? My first phone (which was a bit of a brick) was bought in September 1999, just ten years ago, when I was about to start at university for the travelling. I never had a phone while at school, and wouldn't have needed one either! Back in 1999 they were regarded with some fear and wonderment, but now they're so common that it's rarer to find someone who doesn't have one.

But is it necessarily a good development - that your life is at the beck and call of the mobile? Checking every five minutes to see if there's a text, wondering if it's broken if there have been no calls and texts in half an hour. We never truly achieve peace, unless we leave it behind, probably by accident, and then spend the day wondering if we have received any texts or calls and have missed them!

The potential for encouragement, contact and support is immense, but do we use that potential? As BT would say, 'It's good to talk'. O2 even affirms that 'we're better, connected.' Do phones encourage contact, or merely keep us distanced through texts? Discuss (verbally, or if you must, by a text comment!)

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