Season 3

Mobile phones (S03E28)

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This episode’s vocabulary

  • On the face of it (phrase) — used when you are describing how a situation seems on the surface.
  • To legislate (verb) — to make or enact laws.
  • Endemic (adj.) — (esp. of a disease or social condition) found particularly in a specific area or group.
  • To work around (phrasal verb) — to arrange or organize something so that you avoid problems that may stop you from doing something.
  • Child lock (noun) — any of various locking devices designed to prevent a child from opening, accessing, or using something which is perceived as unsuitable or potentially harmful.
  • Ill-advised (adj.) — not wise, and likely to cause problems in the future.
  • To articulate (verb) — to express in words.
  • To opt for (verb)—to make a choice, especially of one thing or possibility instead of others.
  • To get smth across (phrasal verb) — to manage to communicate an idea clearly.
  • Self-contained (adj.) — (of a thing) complete, or having all that is needed, in itself.
  • To intrude (verb) — to thrust or force in or upon someone or something especially without permission, welcome, or fitness.
  • Nuance (noun) — a very slight difference in appearance, meaning, sound, etc.

We have also added these words to a “Quizlet” set for you to study and revise in your free time:

Questions and Answers

Maria: Rory do you think we should set up laws and regulations on the use of mobile phones?

Rory: Well, on the face of it, it seems like a good idea, given the negative effects they sometimes have. But I’m not sure it’s something that you could legislate for very well, given how… Well they’re pretty much endemic at this stage. So it’s probably easier to work around the problem to try and solve it. So with that in mind, it’s maybe better that parents or guardians are encouraged to take control of the situation and educate their kids about how to use mobile phones effectively.

Maria: Do you think children should have mobile phones?

Rory: No. I’m not a parent but when I am I’m not gonna let my children have mobile phones, at least not for the first few years of their lives. I think it’s a real barrier to the enjoyment of being a child and parent should be really careful about letting their kids use them. I think child locks and sort of other protective mechanisms like that are a great idea for young people in particular, just because it protects them from doing something stupid or ill-advised. Because young people don’t know what they’re doing on the Internet or with mobile phones and they can get themselves into serious trouble. So it’s important their parents educate them as much as possible about how to use them sensibly first.

Maria: In your opinion at what age should we give a cell phone to a child.

Rory: Well, given how some people behave when they’re using them, maybe no one should be allowed to have them ever. But if I think about it seriously, in general, probably, like, the mid to late teens when you start beginning to act like a responsible adult, but still with some supervision and education about how to use them properly. But I don’t really agree with this idea of parents giving phones to children who are 5 or 6 years old. I don’t see the point in that. You have a mobile phone to get in touch with people, but you who do you need to get in touch with when you’re 6 years old? Your parents should be looking after you!

Maria: Why do some people dislike using text messages?

Rory: Well I think for some people it’s hard for them to articulate their thoughts in writing. So I think they opt for voice messages and calls instead because that’s easier for them. It can be annoying sometimes because it’s a lot more demanding on the time of the person who’s getting the call or the voice message. But you know, if you want to get your message across clearly and that’s the priority then maybe this is a good idea for them.

Maria: Why do some people prefer texting as compared to phone calls like, we never call each other, you know, we just text.

Rory: Well, I suppose for the opposite reasons of what I just said. If we think about texting it’s it’s easier to put a small text message together. It’s shorter, it’s usually self-contained, and people who are sending texts to can control the intrusion into their life and time more easily. So I think it’s probably better if you’re someone who values your time and using it effectively you know there’s usually no need to answer a text message immediately, whereas if it’s a call then you do need to answer immediately.

Maria: Do you think modern technology has any negative influence on communication?

Rory: Oh, definitely. For example, like, it removes body language and nuance from the equation. In some ways that can probably lead to confusion if you don’t communicate very well. And then some people feel a lot freer to express their opinions and say things which they would never say in real life which can be quite disappointing and hurtful. Although, I suppose since it’s usually through technology it’s easier to get over than if someone was saying horrible things to you in person. So with those two examples in mind there are definitely some downsides to this, for sure.

Maria: What do you think are some of the main differences between the written communication and spoken communication?

Rory: Well, probably… No, definitely, everything connected to conveying meaning through pronunciation and body language, although we’ve, like, the advent of emojis is designed to help with this, so people can convey their emotions clearly. But there’s still a bit of a barrier to overcome in that sense. The structure of written spoken communication is actually quite different, now that I think about it. For example, you repeat yourself more when you speak. You use different expressions, some vocabulary is different, you use more slang and colloquial terms when you’re speaking as opposed to when you’re writing. To be honest, people have probably written lots of books about the differences between these two things. But I think those are the big things that come to mind when you ask this question to me.

Maria: Rory what about the future of mobile phones? What will happen in the future? Will babies be using mobile phones? Or they’ll disappear like dinosaurs?

Rory: Well I think we’ll probably always need some kind of mobile communication device. Whether it’ll be a mobile phone that you can hold in your hand or not is probably not the case. I imagine like 50 years down the line we’ll probably have something different. Maybe something that’s even integrated with our bodies, to be honest. And there are lots of discussions around that. I think it’d be quite cool, though. I mean, you could carry around more effectively. But as long as you only get it at a responsible age where you know what you’re doing with it.


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