Calls of the Wild: Telephone Abuse in the 21st Century
May 7, 2012Irvington High School
By Dimitri Jean Baptiste
Let’s ask this question: Are people taking phones for granted in today’s society? You may think this question may not refer to you, but people have in fact misused telephones for years.
With things such as prank calls, bomb threats, excessive calling, gossip and telemarketers, you might observe that telephones are not being used the way they are supposed to.
The origins of the telephone are rooted in 1876. There are various claims that point the actual creation of phones to a couple of inventors, Alexander Graham Bell and Antonio Meucci.
Phones, over the course of a 100 years, have changed the way we communicate and keep in contact with each other. The way people misuse phones has changed along the way too. For instance, people make prank calls.
Prank calls are intended to be jokes over the phone directed at strangers. There are a number of prank call websites such as Ustream. Some say people make prank calls because they are clever and witty, while others claim it is simply because people enjoy annoying others for no particular reason.
Speaking of annoying, how about telemarketing. Telemarketers are calls from “companies” trying to sell you a product over the phone. They call because they have your number on a call list.
A number of methods have been applied to get rid of telemarketers such as the national “Do Not Call” list. Others use more direct and creative ways to get back at telemarketers. For example, telling a telemarketer, “I am deeply in love with you. Would you marry me?” and “I’m glad you called, want to sell you something,” are some interesting suggestions to drive away telemarketers.
On a far more serious note, you have people making bomb threats and other false reports. This is just crossing the line. Bomb threats and other false reports such as false alarm calls to 911, are serious and no laughing matter. Besides the danger they pose to first responders and the public, they can get you in serious trouble. If caught, there is a good chance you will end up in prison for making terrorist threats.
Next, is misuse of the technology found on today’s Smartphones - video recording, for example.. In today’s world, when people see an emergency, they do not call 911. Instead they may text a friend, tell them what is happening and then begin videotaping the emergency..
Once again, the use of technology has crossed the line when bystanders record fights on their phones and then post them on YouTube, instead of stopping the fight or reporting it to the police.
This sort of scenario has occurred many times. MSNBC.com had a story where a student was beaten last year while witnesses record with their phones. “It needs to be banned. When they're videotaping it, they are encouraging it.",” says Shirley Calloway, a mother whose child was beaten while others videotaped.
In some ways, it seems that phones are used more to hurt then to help in today’s society.
Here are some helpful phone guidelines to use a phone properly without abusing the phone or causing problems for others:
- Do not call pass 11:00 p.m. (Sleepy people are grumpy people.)
- Do not call someone repeatedly. (How many times do they have to hang up on you for you to get the message?)
- Do not make prank calls at any time. (It’s funny to you maybe, but not to others.)
- HANG UP ON TELEMARKETERS. They’re nothing but a waste of time. (You should decide how you want to throw your money away.)
- DO NOT MAKE A BOMB THREAT OR ANY FALSE REPORT TO AUTHORITIES. (You’ll have bigger problems than just an angry caller; you’ll have an angry FBI to deal with.)
- Do not record a fight with a cellphone. (You might as well be throwing the punches too.)
- If you see an emergency, do the right thing and call 911. (Nuff said.)