Cell phones are a privilege, or a right?

On my way through work, I overheard what I could only assume was a frustrated mother exclaiming, “Cell phones are a privilege, not a right!” I could not help but feel that her mentality is misguided at best. As computers and electronics become less expensive and more intrusive; the line between rights and privileges between them blur ever further.

What we once considered to be “Space Age” has now fallen into the course of the mundane. I would argue that the modern man seeks the cell phone or laptop no differently than a hunter would have reached for the bow or spear. They are tools for the modern age, responsible for the growth and destruction of empires no different than those built on the bronze or gun powder before them. All technologies come at a productive cost, as the parent must feel about the usefulness of the cell phone, but the advancing qualities of the technologies allow for the cost to become pennies on the dollar.

Yes, I would bet that the average American worker spends more than an hour or two on social media or electronic devices during paid time, but with the advanced computer systems and programs available to them for their respective jobs, is it an honest cost for the business at all? That worker is performing tasks at such a pace the job can’t keep work coming fast enough.

To further argue that the denial of these advances is somehow beneficial to our offspring is the same as asking them to poorly prepare themselves for their educational careers. I propose that a cell phone is the same, if not more so, than the acknowledged human right of internet access. Throughout time we have sought to further our knowledge and communicative skill, yet we treat these advances the same as our ancestors treated the telegraph or radio. “The age of leasure is dead, and the art of conversation is dying.” wrote the Frank Leslies Popular Monthly, in 1890.

I dare any modern person to exclaim that the humble telegraph collapsed society into tyranny and despair. Likewise, the “internet upbringing” of whole generations will not crash human civilization anymore so than the printing press destroyed Europe or the colonies of the Americas. I can understand and empathize with the desire to draw a line between the digital and analog lifestyles, but what I find to be inexcusable is the thought that human progress could possibly be undermined by those utilizing available technologies to vanquish poverty, increase educational efforts and produce an open, free, unrestricted window into the hands of millions to see what grass might be greener over the hillside.

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