Some don’t see cell phones a necessity for life

Rebekah Maple

Pricey plans can hassle young adults

Recent Kent State graduate Ashley Carter has never been texted, sexted or drunk dialed. She does not experience “phantom vibrations.” None of these things happen to Carter because she has no cell phone.

In a world full of ever-advancing technology, a cell phone is almost a must in the college student’s everyday life. For students who are cell phone-less, daily tasks prove to be a little more difficult because of their importance today.

“It’s hard to make plans and not have a cell phone because the plans constantly change and people have a hard time getting a hold of me,” Carter said. “It’s really more of an inconvenience for others than it is for me. They have to call around to find me.”

According to the Wireless Association, as of December 2008, more than 270 million Americans own cell phones, and an online Harris Interactive poll of more than 9,000 adults shows that one-third of 18 to 29-year-olds only use a cell phone to make calls, as opposed to traditional landline telephones.

Carter said she doesn’t want to spend the money for a cell phone plan and thinks that having one would be a hassle, especially since she doesn’t like to talk on the phone. She graduated in May and said she doesn’t plan to get one until she gets a job in the near future.

In a recent change to a decades-old program called Lifeline, low-income people across the country are eligible to receive discounts for phone service. According to Lifeline’s Web site, the program “provides qualified consumers with a discount on monthly charges for their primary home phone line, even if it’s a cell phone.”

Students without cell phones who are on a tight budget may benefit from a program like Lifeline.

James Fruit, junior political science major, said he has owned a cell phone since he was 13 years old. Today, he pays Verizon Wireless approximately $90 per month for his phone plan, which includes unlimited texting and a data plan so he can connect to the Internet.

Fruit said he uses his phone several hundred times a day and sends more than 1,000 text messages a month. He said he doesn’t know anyone without a cell phone, so it is easy for him to stay connected.

“If I didn’t have a cell phone today, I wouldn’t be able to get my e-mail or political updates, and I would have to use the computer a lot more,” Fruit said. “I would feel a lot more isolated.”

Although having a cell phone is important to Fruit in his college career, being a cell phone outcast doesn’t bother Carter. She said she either uses her boyfriend’s cell phone or her landline telephone.

“Almost half of the calls my boyfriend receives are people looking for me,” Carter said. “I think a cell phone is more important to get in contact with family, and I’m not bothered by not having one in college.”

Contact technology reporter Rebekah Maple at [email protected].