Cell-phone is ringing! Is there anyone listening?

Posted on March 1, 2008
Filed Under >Syed Ahsan Ali, Society
19 Comments
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Syed Ahsan Ali

Photo by Sillia at Flickr.comFew months back I got a chance to interview Shahid Afridi. A day before the interview I went to the Regal Electronic Market of Karachi to purchase an audio recording device. While looking for the recorder, we passed through the city’s largest cell phone market. It was almost 9 p.m. but still very noisy and crowded there. Many people were infusing their cell-phones with ring-tones, some were trying to fill the bellies of their handsets with cheap songs and some were selling used sets to buy newer ones. At one shop, as I was peeking at different things and colorful gadgets, I saw some pornographic material in a cell phone. I was shocked to see something like that in a public place. As I noticed things more closely I saw that every other shop was busy in transferring such material into the sets. Cell phones, which are usually used in the civilized world as tools of communication, have been transformed into micro-cinema houses in Pakistan which run adult stuff at very low costs. I noticed that most of the customers in those shops were very young people, mostly in their teens.

Then I recalled how one of my friends once showed his cell phone to us which was filled with same material. He told me that his mobile has a memory card of 20 GB and that made it possible for him to carry several 45 to 50 minutes’ length films in it. I asked him from where he got all that stuff and he laughed at the stupidity of my question. He told me sheepishly that Saddar is the best market for such stuff at very nominal rates. But it was the set that ranged around 15000 to 20000 PK Rupees and that is not affordable at all for our youngsters to carry such expensive appliances. But those who cannot get access to such things are doing number of other things with their cell-phones.

I have been teaching from number of years in one capacity or other so I have interacted with students from primary classes to Masters Level. And believe me no one is safe from this mafia which is ruining the minds of our youngsters. These days everyone carries 3 to 4 sim cards firstly because they are absolutely cheap and secondly because it is easy to give everyone its due share by having 3 to 4 different numbers. Then due to cheaper packages of mobile companies which costs nothing more than few hundred rupees they talk to each other whole nights. I definitely don’t understand how they manage to pay attention to the school and college classes in the morning. Carrying 5 to 6 inches’ long mobile sets switching it to the vibration mode hiding from the eyes of elders at the houses is a piece of cake for our youngsters. You can notice it yourself how many children own their own mobile set. Are we getting the whole point? Are we thinking what this trend can do to our young generation?

We feel elated when we see a new package offered by any telecommunication company. We feel irritated when we see that telecommunication sector does not provide enough employment chances because it is not labor intensive industry but do we ask question what this trend of money making is doing to the tender and impressionable minds?

I also need to ask one very relevant question here. What is the role of teachers and parents in all this? We see bigger campaigns for the eradication of polio, hepatitis and other physical illnesses but what is our role to prevent this soul-killing epidemic? Providing each and every facility to our children is our goal irrespective of what it can do to their future on the hindsight. I usually involve parents when it comes to the use of internet and cell-phones but parents generally reply that no, no my kid is very naive; he does not feel like doing such vulgar things. Then I feel tempted to ask that whether their kid is not human who is not immune from the attacks of evil which never let any opportunity go by easily to annihilate us, humans. I just want to know is there anyone listening because out there is a jungle and especially responsible and good parenting becomes a weapon to survive.

Photo Credits: Flickr here

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19 responses to “Cell-phone is ringing! Is there anyone listening?”

  1. Moiz says:

    I came across a similar article at TPS.
    http://www.pakspectator.com/pakistani-girls-asking -for-mobile-phone-cards/
    Although seems to have been composed in a jiffy but author manages to get her point across (although i might not necesserily agree with her POV).

  2. Babar says:

    Ahsan, thanks for pointing out to a pervasive problem about which most of us don’t really talk about.

    All technologies have been mainpulated and the only way around this is education and parental involvement.

  3. shahab says:

    In my opinion, censorship will only add to the allure of the thing you’re trying to ban. The best way is for parents to take the time and make the effort to talk openly with their children about this. The education system also needs to develop some sort of “sex education” curriculum for the schools.

    Shahab

  4. Sceptic says:

    Where there is demand, there is supply.

    It were live shows and nude paintings before the invention of the press, then the printed pornography came on the scene, which in turn were followed by photographic items and films. Electronic transmission by air, through the cable etc expanded the reach of pornography further. Demand for, and therefore supply of, erotica was there since the man evolved and it does not appear diminishing.

    In this age one way to stop the youth from watching pornography will be to blind them all. Otherwise, you will have to not only completely ban mobile phones, but also eliminate the Internet, computers, TVs, press, paintings and whatnot from the face of earth. Take you pick.

    The sensible option will be, by accepting the reality, to regularize the screening and sale of films, including pornographic ones, by making their rating mandatory. It would control adult material, to an extent, into falling in the hands of minors. Sex education in schools can also help in reducing some of the reasons for kids and adolescents accessing pornography. They watch it as much out of curiosity as much for pleasure.

    Raise your hands if you never accessed/viewed a sexually explicit picture before turning 18.

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