Thursday, April 15, 2010

S03 Mobile Panics

I happen to be the owner of a smart phone, an iphone to be exact. I have the instant gratification that McPherson spoke about in my hands. If I get lost, I can search for a map giving me directions from my exact location, even if I don't know what my exact location is. If I'm confused about a fact, I can pull up my Wikipedia app and have it answered. Almost anything I need is there instantly. Yoon speaks of the mobile panic that can occur when instant gratification is presented to us in a cellphone.

In contrast, representations of the mobile phone as a threat to culture have frequently appeared in the dominant media discourse based on several presumptions. First, it is suggested that the mobile phone encourages excessive consumption; second, that it is a threat to learning and the development of literacy; third, that it precipitates the loosening of familial and communal bonding and causes pathological behaviors; and fourth that the politically engaged and collective use of mobile phones can isntigate social disorder. Consequently, there is a fifth presumption: that regulatory action to combat the cultural side-effects of mobile phones is required.

Yoon's first point about mobile phones encouraging excessive consumption is absolutely correct. My iphone is a great example to that. All the apps in it are meant for instant gratification. Whether it is to purchase an item, gain information, or find entertainment, everything is instant. The fact that there are currently around 6.4 million iphones activated in the US leads me to believe that we are a country approving of this excessive consumption.

Now the other point that Yoon brings up is the threat to learning and the development of literacy that mobile phones provide. I grew up with technology most of my life so I may be biased, but i don't believe mobile phones are that problematic. While a calculator app may promote you not using your brain to count, there are other apps that encourage you to think and learn. The app, for example, is used constantly by my dad whose second language is English to learn how to pronounce words he is not familiar with. There are plenty of other apps that encourage you to learn like one that lets you read an ebook or learn Spanish. Yes, a lot of us like instant gratification, but isn't gratification isn't always a threat to our intelligence.

1 comment:

sukumar said...

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