America’s newest addiction

Ted Hamilton

It is only the second week of school, but by now I am sure you have noticed them. The girl from your psych class, the football player in your math class, and if you have the thankless job of working in food service, you get annoyed by them every day: cell phone addicts.

As soon as class ends they are whipping it out before they even reach the door. They are texting or calling friends to see what they can remember from last night. Checking their e-mail and surfing the Web. Our society has started to become hopelessly addicted.

According to, in 2003, one professor gave his 220 students a simple homework assignment — turn off your cell phones for 72 hours.

Three students managed to keep them off the entire 72 hours. That is, if you believe they were not lying.

People who use them so often are actually becoming addicted to them. Studies suggest that when they go without their cell phones, they feel more stressed and insecure.

Getting depressed because you can not call someone as soon as you walk out of class? Come on America.

It could almost be a game, albeit a sick one, to see if you can find a place to relax by yourself while keeping your phone on. Annoying friends and overly protective significant others are impossible to escape.

People are using them so much they get injuries from them. They have not yet been linked to cancer, but users have strained their eyes and developed problems with their thumbs. If my thumb begins to hurt because of how much I text, I think I might have to question my priorities.

That is not even mentioning car accidents. “Chatty Kathys” who can not stop talking to their friends cause one in 20 car crashes, reports. They estimate more than 2,500 people are killed and 330,000 injured each year because of drivers using phones. Some researchers equate it with driving drunk because users are not paying attention to the road.

Radiation from cell phones was focused on rats in a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The control group experienced no change, but the experimental group had a protein that is a major component in blood plasma leaking from parts of their brain.

In other words, cell phone radiation made their brains leak.

I am not going to say I am completely innocent of the charges. I check to see if someone has called or sent me a message at least once an hour. I use it as a calculator and for my alarm clock. If Stephen King’s plot from Cell comes true, there is a good chance I might be joining the homicidal zombie-like masses.

I can be thankful for small miracles though, because not enough of my brain has leaked out to make me mindless enough to use it while ordering food or driving.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].