Do I Need a Mobile Phone?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"I feel very insecure and irritated if I don't have a mobile phone with me."—Akiko.* MOBILE phones are becoming ever more popular in many lands. They are convenient. Your friends and parents can contact you anytime, anywhere—and you them. Some models allow you to exchange short text messages, which "is the latest way for young people to feed their urge to communicate," says The Times of London. There are even mobile phones that can connect you to cyberspace, providing access to Web sites and E-mail.

You may already have one, or you may be planning to get one. In either case, you might consider the saying: "There are two sides to every coin." A mobile phone may well have some benefits. However, you may want to think about the other side of the coin, for even if you choose to buy one, being fully aware of its potential drawbacks will help you use it wisely.
"Calculate the Expense" Jesus stated the wise principle that one should "calculate the expense" before undertaking an important project. (Luke 14:28) Can that principle be applied to mobile phones? Certainly.
Now you may be able to get the phone itself at very little cost, or it may even be free. However, as 17-year-old Henna discovered, "the bill can suddenly get very high." There can also be constant pressure to keep up with additional services and to buy more-expensive models. Thus, Hiroshi says: "I have a part-time job and save money to get a newer model every year." Many youths do the same.#
Even if your parents agree to pay the bill for you, it is still important to understand the costs. A traveling Christian minister in Japan notes: "Some mothers are taking on extra part-time work just to pay for their children's mobile phone, which may not be necessary in the first place." You surely would not want to put such a burden on your parents! "A Time Killer" Many who start out using the phone moderately may find it taking up more of their time than they expected—and crowding out more important things.
Mika used to spend a lot of time with her family around the dinner table. "Now," she says, "after we have our meal we go back to our rooms with our own [mobile phones]."
"A third of young adults aged between 16 and 20 prefer text messaging over all other means of written communication," says The Guardian of London. Text messaging may cost you less money than voice conversation, but it costs you more time to key in text messages. Mieko admits: "If someone sends 'good night,' I answer 'good night.' Then, messages start flying back and forth for an hour. It is just silly talk." Many mobile-phone users might be quite surprised if they were to stop and add up all the time they spend using their phone in one month. A 19-year-old girl, Teija, admits: "For many people, a mobile phone is a time killer rather than a time saver." Even if your circumstances justify owning one, it is important to be time conscious while using it.

A young Christian girl named Marja observes: "At Christian assemblies many young people keep sending trivial messages to others. It's very common!" Similar behavior has been observed among youths engaging in the Christian ministry. The Bible advises Christians to buy out time for spiritual activities. (Ephesians 5:16) How sad when such precious time is taken up by telephone conversation!
Secret Communication Marie comments on another pitfall: "Since the calls come directly to the individual, not to the home, there is a danger of parents not being aware of whom their kids are talking to or even whether they are on the phone or not." Some youths thus use mobile phones to establish secret contact with those of the opposite sex. Some have dropped their guard, bypassing standards they would normally observe when communicating with others. How so? "Text messaging means that no one can monitor what [young people] are doing," says The Daily Telegraph of London.
Not seeing or hearing the other party can affect you. "Some feel that a text message is a more neutral way to communicate," observes Timo. "In a message some may write things that they would consider too bold to say face-to-face."
When Keiko, a 17-year-old Christian girl, started using a mobile phone, she let many of her friends know her number.

Soon she started exchanging messages every day with a boy in her congregation. Keiko says: "At first we just talked about everyday things, but then we started sharing our troubles. We created our own little world by means of our mobile phones."
Happily, she received help from her parents and the Christian elders before things got too serious. She now admits: "Even though before giving me a mobile phone, my parents had warned me so much about exchanging mail with the opposite sex, I mailed him every day. It wasn't the best way to use the phone."% The Bible admonishes us to "hold a good conscience." (1 Peter 3:16) Doing so means that when you use a mobile phone, you must make sure that, as Koichi says, "you have nothing to be ashamed of," even if someone else should see your messages or overhear you. Always remember that there are no secrets when it comes to our heavenly Father. The Bible explains: "There is not a creation that is not manifest to [God's] sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting." (Hebrews 4:13) Why, then, try to maintain a secret relationship?
Young woman talking on mobile phoneYoung man talking on mobile phone
Some youths carry on secret relationships via the mobile phone Set Limits If you are considering getting a mobile phone, why not first evaluate your situation carefully to see if you really need one? Discuss the matter with your parents. Some feel as did young Jenna, who says: "A mobile phone is too big a responsibility for many young people." Even if you decide to own such a phone, it is important to keep it under control.
How? Set reasonable limits. For example, limit the number of features you use or the amount of time and money you spend on the phone. Since most phone companies provide a detailed report of your usage, you might want to analyze the bill with your parents from time to time. Some find it convenient to use a prepaid type of mobile phone to limit usage.

Also, give careful thought to when and how you respond to calls and messages. Make your own reasonable guidelines. Shinji explains: "I open my mailbox only once a day, and I usually reply to messages only when they are important. As a result, friends have stopped sending junk messages. If there is a really urgent problem, they will call me anyway." More important, be selective as to the people with whom you communicate. Be careful about giving out your phone number. Apply the same standards you always use regarding good association.—1 Corinthians 15:33.
The Bible says: "For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to keep quiet and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7) Clearly, there are times for mobile phones "to keep quiet" too. Our Christian meetings and ministry are the "appointed time" for worshiping God, not for using the phone. Restaurant and theater managers often request that their clients refrain from using mobile phones.
We respectfully comply with such requests. Surely the Sovereign of the universe deserves no less respect!
If they are not expecting a crucial call, many choose to turn off their phone, or they switch to a silent mode when engaging in essential activities. Some put their mobile phone out of reach. After all, cannot most messages be attended to later? If you decide to own a mobile phone, be determined to control it and not let it control you. Clearly, you need to stay alert and keep your priorities in order. The Bible encourages us: "Let your reasonableness become known to all men." (Philippians 4:5) If you decide to have a mobile phone, by all means resolve to show your reasonableness in the way you use it.

Whats wrong with sex on Phone?

"PHONE SEX," according to one well-known American magazine, "has replaced the love letter as the preferred means of romantic communication for couples who find themselves apart." What is phone sex? It involves talking about or listening to explicit erotic matters on the phone.*

Those engaging in the practice often masturbate to relieve their arousal. Whether the obscene talk takes place between courting couples or between strangers, phone sex is alarmingly popular. In fact, some are openly advocating it.
"It's the safest sex you can have," claims one woman. Apparently, quite a few agree with her. For instance, in October 2000, in response to an increase in HIV infections, a group of Russian health experts took out newspaper advertisements to promote telephone sex. Other people, however, are promoting telephone sex strictly for profit. Phone sex services—where people pay to hear obscenities—have become a billion-dollar industry in the United States alone. Just why has this practice become so popular?
The book The Fantasy Factory puts it this way: "Intimate physical and emotional contact is dangerous. There are physical risks of sexually transmitted disease, personal/professional risk of exposure, fear of judgment and the repercussions of 'abnormal' desire. Phone sex subverts the risk."
Granted, phone sex doesn't involve physical contact with another person. But does this mean that there is nothing wrong with it or that there are no dangers or risks at all? Is Telephone Sex Harmless? Sexual desire is especially strong during youth. The Bible calls this period when sexual desires are at their peak "the bloom of youth." (1 Corinthians 7:36) During this crucial time in life, a Christian youth should learn to "get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor." (1 Thessalonians 4:4) That is, you must learn how to cope with and control your sexual feelings.
This is crucial to having a healthy, balanced view of sex.
Telephone sex, however, teaches one to indulge, rather than control, one's sexual impulses. More than that, it promotes a degrading, distorted view of the opposite sex. The Bible teaches that sexual intimacies should be enjoyed only within the framework of marriage. (Hebrews 13:4) But phone sex encourages young ones to experience sexual pleasures outside marriage. The Bible teaches that real happiness comes from giving—not getting. (Acts 20:35) But phone sex teaches one to use others as a means for selfish gratification. The Bible teaches married couples to develop true intimacy by cultivating mutual love and trust. (Ephesians 5:22, 33)

Telephone sex, however, promotes coldness and anonymity.
A Harmful Addiction Ancient Corinth was renowned as a city of immoral vices. With good reason, then, the apostle Paul wrote to Christians there: "I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3) Telephone sex is one of the means that Satan the Devil is using to corrupt young ones today. For some youths, calling telephone sex lines has become an uncontrollable addiction. One young man we'll call Jim demonstrates just how "hooked" some can become. Jim saw the number for a telephone sex line on a billboard advertisement. He memorized the number and later called it out of curiosity.
The calls to the line became more and more frequent. Before long, he had racked up a $600 phone bill!
Stimulating sexual desires while you are still unmarried runs counter to the counsel of God's Word. It urges: "Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite."—Colossians 3:5. The Dangers in Courtship What about young adults who are engaged in a serious courtship? Of course, it is only natural for people who are in love to want to express their feelings toward each other. Back in Bible times, one God-fearing young woman said regarding her fiancĂ©: "I am my dear one's, and toward me is his craving." (Song of Solomon 7:10) As the wedding day approaches, it is right and proper that an engaged couple discuss certain intimate matters. However, is phone sex a safe way to express romantic feelings? No. Even engaged couples are obliged to follow the counsel of the apostle Paul: "Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people; neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks. For you know this, recognizing it for yourselves, that no fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God."—Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:8.
Young man talking on telephone Courting couples must beware that their talk does not become unclean Young woman talking on telephone Intimate talk that deliberately arouses immoral thoughts or that triggers masturbation is obviously unclean in Jehovah's eyes. And it could lead to even more serious violations of godly principles. One couple, for example, were enjoying a long-distance courtship. At first, they used their frequent telephone conversations as a means of getting to know each other. Before long, however, they began discussing immoral topics. Their conversations became increasingly explicit. It is not surprising, then, that when their circumstances finally allowed them to be together, they quickly fell into unclean behavior. Surely, we who want to please God will do our utmost to avoid falling into the trap of telephone sex. How can we be successful in doing so? 'Pummel Your Body' Telephone sex can become addictive.

We need to 'pummel our body and lead it as a slave' in order to meet Jehovah's approval. (1 Corinthians 9:27) If you are currently engaging in telephone sex, why not get some help? Telling your Christian parents would be a good start. Yes, they may well be upset with you. But they may also be in the best position to help monitor your behavior so that you don't have a relapse. The elders in your local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses will also be willing and able to help out.
If you are courting, be determined to remain chaste, even when talking on the phone. An engaged Christian woman named Leticia says: "My fiancé and I have read together Bible-based articles on staying chaste. We appreciate the way they have helped us maintain a clean conscience." Have the courage to change the topic if your talk becomes suggestive. Consult together about the need to keep your conversations clean.
Young man studying the Bible Reading God's Word and Christian publications can strengthen your resolve to remain chaste In some lands, advertisements for telephone sex are featured on television late at night. Perhaps it would be best for you simply to avoid watching late-night TV. Since masturbation will similarly arouse, rather than deaden, immoral thoughts, it is vital that you avoid this unclean practice.# You can successfully expel unclean thoughts from your mind by dwelling on upright things. (Philippians 4:8) Surround yourself with friends who use wholesome speech, and read God's Word and Christian publications daily to fortify your resolve. In this way you will not allow room for immoral fantasies to creep in and corrupt your thinking. Most important, pray to God for help.
The apostle Peter wrote: "Throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you."—1 Peter 5:6, 7.
"The pressure on young ones to get involved in illicit sex is very great," says a young Christian girl from Brazil. However, Jehovah knows the challenges you face. Be assured that he will give you all the help you need to stay clean in his eyes.

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