There is no way you would see a couple (no matter their ages), without their electronic babies: phones, tablets, smart watches and the general range of flattened I.T gadgets. Just chance upon a couple either at the restaurant or in their cars, and you would see either of them holding a gadget. These gadgets especially phones have become a part of our lives so much that, some people seem more confused at the loss of their gadgets over the loss of a loved one.
According to the National Communications Authority (NCA), the number of mobile phone users in Ghana rose to 26.09 million at the end of January 2013 from 25.62 million a month earlier. Though this is particularly for mobile phone, same can be said for other such electronic devices, which have over the years proven to be a necessity instead of a luxury.
Indeed phones have played their part in this nation, by sparing loved ones of this generation the ordeal of getting caught and lashed by a lover’s parents or elderly siblings. Thanks to phones, the days of stone throwing, whistling, letter writing (to some extent) and the role of the almighty “betweener” (the human liaison between two lovers) seem over. I miss the letters anyway – if for nothing at all they compelled the young men in my class to read the Bible and write good English.
But, neither the ‘betweener’ nor the letter’s role is completely lost in modern day relationships. They have merely being taken up by an electronic baby- the mobile phone. Seriously, the human betweener used to mess up people’s relationship, especially when the betweener falls in love with the one they were to help a friend woo. There have been several instances and stories to this effect, which made the coming of the phone good news.
However, the phone hasn’t done well in eliminating the dangers of the “betweener” per se. The phone is the new baby that has to be fed credits, touched, cuddled and spoken to as often as possible. These tendencies among others have made people grow so fond of their phones so much so that, it wouldn’t be wrong to call them ‘phone addicts’. Phone addicts are good people; in fact they actually are the ones who understand what a phone’s mobility and smartness is all about. So having a phone addict as your partner only means that you get your calls and messages responded to on time: that’s effective communication, which is crucial for the survival of any relationship. Every mobile phone user therefore needs a dose of phone addiction in their blood for effective communication purposes. But while the dosage makes the phone an instrument that draws not just lovers, but colleague workers, friends and family together, the same acts breaks them apart.
LIES AND INTRUSION
There is a story told of a man travelling on a bus, and almost half way into the journey, he questions the driver about the destination of the bus. He sort for clarification because other people on the bus had in their phone conversations, mentioned three different locations as the destination for the bus. Mobile phones have brought with them, an era of lies: a communication tactic that does all forms of relationships more harm than good. Mobile phones coupled with the bad habits of some people have become the devil that knocks lies into people’s heads. The phone has become a magical gadget for conjuring traffic jams, rains, accidents and consistent mobile network failures. Call someone and ask why they are not at a venue as scheduled and all these excuses would be given. (Sometimes am tempted to yell “it’s a lie” to the other person’s hearing).
The lies aside, handling a phone in the presence of others could also have damaging effects, but that’s what it is now. Imagine your phone beeping in the middle of a heated conversation or during intimate moments: that could set emotions ablaze. In instances where there is a meeting with your superiors, a mere beep, or fidget with the phone could spell doom as it becomes a sign of inattention, indiscipline and disrespect.
A study published in July by dailymail.com mentions a whopping 62% of women and 48% of men, having admitted to pausing sex to check or update their mobile phone. Phones have become intruders, no I should say, we have made mobile phones intruders, who interrupt our special/crucial moments. The device that has saved lives from the sharia law mode of punishment seems to have become the very bone of contention in most relationships.
For instance, the phone leaves lovers no excuse for not communicating. My little asking around showed that most lovers get irritated when they do not see a missed call, text, whatsapp message, or any such phone related actions from their spouses within a couple of hours. This is when you hear responses of “that’s why it’s a mobile phone” when a spouse fails to pick up a lover’s call. Well they are right, why do you seem too busy with the phone in their presence but fail to pick up their call when it matters the most. In short the phone can make and break relationships, which is why it should be handled with a lot of discipline.
HANDLING THE MOBILE
There are really no instructions to doing this. Just be disciplined, reasonable and conscious of the people around you. Ask yourself this “does my phone need to be on all the time?” What are caller ID’s for? You certainly know who’s calling, and if their call will add up to your moment or not. If it’s not that crucial, let it go. We live in a technology driven era where cell phones are as plentiful as are cars. While we all love and appreciate the instant availability of the tool, we must make efforts to make their use both courteous and wise. ‘Yes, our lives are hectic and full of work and personal commitments, but surely we can all still take the time to dedicate ourselves to a special moment now and again without the constant need to check our mobile phones.
By Martha Teiko Daitey