Cell phones now used for everything but making calls

Oliva Hines, Staff Writer

She types out her homework assignments, texts her friends non-stop, records herself for reminders, listens to music with her friends, and posts frequently on her Snapchat and Instagram stories. One thing she does not do use her phone for: making phone calls.

“Usually we use our phones more for casual texting/snap or as entertainment but for actually talking to people I’d rather Facetime/call them. It’s just easier to text people and social media is good entertainment and fun,” senior Pallas Kenyon said.

According to Pew Research Center in 2014, 46 percent of people stated that they could not live without their cell phones. Smartphones have come a major part of people’s lives. This is because the internet keeps people connected in ways a standard telephone cannot.

Internet access on phones allows users to search the web with the click of a button. Doing so is often more convenient than using a computer because users can do it from any location.

“I think it’s easier through cell phone to communicate with people than a computer because most interaction between people is through popular social media apps like SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter,” junior Kayli Tinsley said.

Smartphones also now come with state of the art cameras. These cameras allow users to quickly snap pictures and videos and even offer editing features. These pictures can be shared by text message and email or posted on social media. Social media apps have even been updating the themselves frequently, giving the users new fonts, filters and designs.

“Phone cameras are fairly decent cameras,” senior Chloe Givens said. “They are great for on the go so you don’t have to carry a big camera around.”

Access to social media apps on cell phones also appeals to users. Many of the hours spent on phones include these popular apps. Most teenagers have multiple social media accounts. These accounts are frequently used throughout the day to communicate because they allow users to send quick messages, videos and photos.

Short message service (SMS), or text messaging, is another popular pastime. The first text message was sent over 25 years ago; however, the action has evolved since then. Initially, the grown for SMS was slow. One of the first major changes to texting came in 1999 when the messages could finally be exchanged among networks. By 2007, Americans were sending and receiving more text messages per month than phone calls.

“I feel like students are losing social skills, they don’t know how to alter their communication to address teachers then code switch to address their friends.  They even include text format in their essays,” said English teacher Anna Thomas.

Social media apps have helped the popularity of text messages because many of these apps use short character format, encouraging users to be concise and character-conscious writers.  Additionally, new phone features like speak-to-text ability and iMessage games have helped text message use increase.

“I use my phone constantly to text my friends, all the new updates are convenient and easy to use,” junior Hannah Ambrose said.

Smartphones also offer uses many options when it comes to music. From Spotify to Pandora to iRadio, smartphone owners have choices when they want to listen to music. Many music apps offer free versions or users can be for ad-free versions. These apps allow users to make playlists, and they can be streamed from the phone to bluetooth speakers in rooms and cars. Music plays an important role in many students’ routines. From walking down the hall to eating lunch to doing homework, students enjoy having music at the tip of their fingers.

“I kind of need music to get through my day at school, it helps me calm down and focus. It drowns out all of the noise out and my focus is solely on one thing,” junior Wyatt Fox said.

The same is true for other entertainment. Smartphones offer a multitude of apps for games and movie streaming. With these apps, users can watch movies and play games anywhere they want right from our phone.

“I like being able to watch movies and play games on my phone especially on long drives or road trips. It makes it very accessible to stay entertained, I use Netflix on my phone almost every night,” senior Tessie Dough said.

In today’s fast-paced world, online classes are commonplace. Through COA, the Virtual Public School and the North Carolina School of Science and Math, students have the ability to take various courses without a traditional classroom and supplies. These classes depend on the internet to connect. Whether it’s the class website’s discussion forum or communicating with the teacher via a text, students can complete portions of their online classes from their phone.

“I like online classes but with them you have to have good time management skills or you won’t be able to succeed in them,” said senior Janae Julien.

Smartphones and their technology continue to be updated and improved. Their features are already ingrained in most people’s daily lives and will remain a part of everyday activity. As a result, smartphones have replaced the need for traditional landlines and internet service in some homes.

“We basically have a mobile computer in our pockets,” senior Warren Brown said. “We can do almost whatever on it for free.”

In today’s digital world, smartphones have many purposes and calling is no longer at the top of the list.