TODAY -

We and our mobile phones

ZK Pahrii Pou *



Many things that were once considered 'luxuries' have become 'basic needs' today. This includes many electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, computers, tablets, etc. In the past, people got satisfaction when they acquired basic food, clothing and shelter.

When those minimum needs were met, they enjoyed their leisure time celebrating feast and in recreation. With very little or no modern electronic devices available, people in the past communicated to each other face to face. Today, time has changed and so are the needs. The closely-knitted village community life had broken down.

Many traditional practices (agriculture, education, political system, etc), went hibernating with some of those practices never set to return. The changing world compels us to live and work in different parts of the world reinforces by new 'needs' to which we are to adapt if we are to survive and grow. In our time, mobile phone has become 'basic need' for majority population of the world. While its use is undeniably helpful in many ways, it can be also harmful if used unmindfully.

When I conducted a colloquium in Baptist Theological College (BTC), Pfutsero, on the use of mobile phone, the finding was astonishing one. The survey covered 195 persons of my college community. The total cost of handsets + tablets is Rs 12,46,400 (twelve lakhs, forty six thousand and four hundred rupees) and monthly recharge is Rs 59,180 (fifty nine thousand, one hundred and eighty rupees). The total amount of recharge by BTC community for one year is Rs 7, 10,160 (Seven lakhs, ten thousand, one hundred and sixty rupees, i.e., Rs 59,180 per month x 12 months).

Some of the concerns shared in the Colloquium:

Money: It is observed that many students spent money for top ups, internet and sms packs and did not pay their tuition fees sent by their parents. On the other side, many parents have money for mobile phones but no money for buying clothes or pay children' school fees.

Many people do have money for mobile recharge but wear torn clothes especially in village. Many families do not have sufficient number of kitchen utensils but each one possesses mobile phone. Many people have money for recharge but do not have money for church tithes or for relief fund.

Time: Many children spend time browsing internet, play games, chat and very less time is given for study and physical work. It had adversely affected their exams result and physical well being.

Time for personal devotion, meditation and reading Bible is consumed by mobile phone. Outdoor games which is essential for good health is taken over by mobile games. Some have lost sleeping time too. Many have lost leisure time.

Family & Community life: Using of mobile phone led to the negligent of family members and friends around them. Many are addicted to mobile phone that they find more interesting in chatting with friends who are miles away than talking to someone who is sitting next to him/her.

Many mobile gamers get annoyed easily when someone talks to them during playing games. Some people are too busy with mobile phones that they refuse to join community work. Hence, the immediate need of friends, family members and neighbours are neglected today.

Personal Life: Many are so tightly attached to mobile phones that they became restless without mobile phone. Some eat food with one hand while holding mobile phone with the other hand to continue playing games. The habit of talking for long time at a stretch, affect health. Some have wandered away from their faith or spiritual life.

Some have lost moral life. It is difficult for many to remember God all the time but cannot forget mobile phone even for few minutes. Even during worship, many would attend the call inside the Church or rush out to attend the call as if talking to someone is more important than talking with God.

There was prolonged and lively discussion after the presentation got over in which both the students and the faculty staff participated. The members then decided upon the following points to be taken up as follow up action: That a day be observed as "No Phone Day" every month.

On that Day, no one will be allowed to use mobile phone and tablets except Principal and Vice Principal's for official matter or emergency calls. That on "No Phone Day", there will be freewill donation of any amount from all BTC community members.

It is expected that the donated amount would be able to meet half of college fees of two needy students. Friends, check how much amount of money is being spent every month by your family.

Calculate the price of handset and tablets owned by your family members, recharge amount for top ups, internet and SMS packs.

Check the relationship among family members: between children and children, children and parents and between husband and wife. Check whether our relationship with God is disturbed? Check why are we so restless without mobile phone?

Check whether there are more important reason to spend money (like helping the poor, the sicků) than on mobile phone. Why not you try to discipline ourselves by switching off your mobile phone at least once in a month?

Let us wisely use our mobile phone. Let it not destroy us like the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.


* ZK Pahrii Pou wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 18 , 2016.


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