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Opinions of Friday, 16 November 2007

Columnist: Agyemang, Frank

Be courteous, Mobile Phone Abusers!

Cell phone abuse is gradually becoming a worldwide epidemic, which is now affecting millions of men, women and children, with no relief in sight. For my part, this is becoming so irritating to the extent that one always finds oneself naturally reacting to such incidence when provided with the slightest opportunity or forum.

What marvels me most is this canker’s infiltration in our honourable legislative arm of government – Parliament. Thanks to our TV stations, there is no one day I watch parliamentary debates without seeing a member receiving or placing a call.

What about our churches? We always see the notice, “Please Turn Your Mobile Phone Off”; yet, we see people receiving calls with tones that generate a great deal of irritancy.

The story is identical at meetings, occasions, and events where people of repute behave much the same with their phones. At a workshop, I could not stand it as a gentleman repeatedly said on top of his voice, “Pleased call back, I’m in a meeting”. Several calls came through receiving same response. What about the ringing tone? Horrible! One will pause to ask: If one knew one was in a meeting, then why leave the phone on a noisy ringing tone?

Please, our Banks should be vigilant about this phenomenon within their premises. Some of us your customers are getting bored with your inefficiencies in controlling cell phone abuses within your banking halls. Sometimes, I wonder what the security details are for. Maybe, they have to be educated on that because I know from evidence that intelligent criminals can place calls giving out identities of customers taking cash out. That really is a threat.

In vehicles, this is a common phenomenon. Why can’t we learn to put our phones on vibrating mode or mute them entirely? Well, some really take delight in advertising their ringing tones, which are never pleasing to the ear. Like millions of others, you may be the victim of cell phone abuse. What actually is cell phone abuse?

Let’s say you’re in public place trying to concentrate on something or having a face-to-face conversation or just enjoying a peaceful moment when a by-stander standing between five and 10 metres away starts talking on his or her cell phone. If, as a result, your concentration is broken or your conversation is interrupted or your peaceful moment is ruined or you are otherwise disturbed, then consider yourself a victim of cell phone abuse.

Making or receiving one or two shorts calls in public among strangers is alright but extensive cell phone use or long cell phone chats which disturb other people is an invasion of privacy. It’s inconsiderate; it’s annoying and discourteous. And worse still, it’s some form of abuse.

And if the victim of cell phone politely (or rudely) interrupts the abuser (as they talk on and on) and asks them kindly to take their cell phone elsewhere, the victim is oftentimes met with a perplexing look or even more abuse, as in “What’s your problem, I’m on the phone here! Sure.

Every cell phone call is important and meaningful, so important and meaningful that people expose it to total strangers in public. In fact, most Ghanaian are really not security conscious when on phones. In a vehicle, I monitored a young lady’s conversation, which pointed to the fact that she was going to the bank to cash some huge money for her shop. I am saying huge because she gave herself out. You can imagine what could happen if an intelligent thief or criminal decides to follow up! You guess right.

Symptoms of cell phone abuse include inability to concentrate on what you are doing, mild or severe irritability or annoyance, sensitively to laud ring tones, and initially thinking the cell phone user is actually talking to YOU. Others include wishing they would hurry up and finish the call, wishing their cell phone battery would go off. I always wish the phone falls and scatters. That has always been my wish for cell phones abusers.

To the victims of cell phone abuse I would say I feel I your pain and, though it’s difficult, you will survive this horrible public abuse. To the cell phone abusers, I entreat them to try a little cell phone courtesy. They need not burden or abuse others with their pseudo social and/ or business self-importance. Or, at least, if they were in public and there were strangers around, they ought to keep cell phone interesting and short. On behalf of the millions of us who suffer cell phones abuses everyday, I say thank you if you comply.



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