OPINION

Mobile dependency

It is evident that mobile phones are used for gossiping as well as urgent business calls. The number of mobile phone subscribers in Greece currently stands at 8.84 million – very close to the size of the population of 14 years and up (8.99 million) which it is predicted to exceed by year-end. And because it is not possible for everyone to own a mobile phone, it is likely that many children under 14 have one. Why are they so popular? Because fashion and consumer society say so. But they also counteract the pressure and alienation provoked by competitive, melioristic, Western societies, according to a recent study by the Oxford Center for Social Research. A few minutes of liberating communication with a girlfriend, husband or mother is enough to relieve stress or a sudden fit of anxiety. For the agoraphobic, stressed out or lonely, the mobile phone is a protective shield in a hostile environment. And for women who feel vulnerable in public places, it is like a bodyguard. Researchers found that only 17 percent of mobile phones are used for professional reasons. The rest carry their phones with them to be able to say, «Hi, how are you?» at any given moment – those insignificant but comforting words which neighbors used to shout from their front yard or in the street. What the study fails to mention is that the mobile phone aggravates rather than cures this neurosis by creating an unhealthy dependency on the device itself… and increasing our sense of isolation.