In July 2011, the number of domestic Smartphone users surpassed over 15 million users. It is a remarkable growth considering that Samsung Electronics’ ‘Omnia 2’ and Apple’s ‘iPhone’ were released as late as the end of 2009. That was the start of the Smartphone wars. It is said that Smartphone have had a major impact not only on the mobile market, but also on our real world experiences. The Smartphone is becoming a modern day trend and a must-have item to have in order to socialize, but many people still do not understand its exact meaning or concept. In addition, the Smartphone market is divided between iPhone’s to Android’s and Windows just to name the major ones; this division does make Smartphones seem confusing and even intimidating.
About 5 to 10 years ago, mobile phones were just a simple device that you could carry, send text messages, and make phone calls with. However, at some point in the development of technology, the simple cellular devices started to evolve with better features. So the cell phones we use today have become ‘something special’ and not just for calling, sending or receiving messages anymore. The features of these ‘something special’ devices include web surfing, SNS, mobile phone, GPS, and DMB; even crowdsourcing can be upgraded with OS and software apps.
Interestingly enough, when translating the term “Smartphone” into Korean, it becomes something similar to “clever phone.” We can complete tasks with Smartphones rather than with our computer. It is portable and easy to communicate with other people through SNS like Kakao Talk, Facebook and Twitter and its users become more and more reliant on to it. Surfing the internet, sending e-mails, shooting and even editing videos can all be done with a Smartphone. Most importantly and attractively, you can choose programs to install on your Smartphone. That is what is called applications (also known as apps).
Smartphones have both advantages and disadvantages!
Surely Smartphones are convenient, but there are some disadvantages too. The disadvantages include the following:
- Smartphone pornography, we could see too easy and simple.
In recent years, problems with Smartphones have largely related to for pornographic apps. The number of illegal pornographic apps for Smartphones is estimated to be as many as 18,000. Korea Communications Commission announced that when they searched the Android application market with the words ‘sex,’ ‘porno,’ ‘nude,’ and ‘penis,’ the results were 18,101 applications. It has increased approximately 31.6 times compared to last year. But the real problem is that there are only 212 (1.2%) applications that have adult certification procedures and only 2,673 (14.8%) applications that have youth hazardous warning signs. In such circumstances, SK Telecom, Korea’s largest communications company, announced that they will block access to illegal pornography with Smartphones and tablet PCs with revised terms and conditions from January, 2012. Also KT and LG U+ plan to participate in this campaign so that they can prevent users from downloading pornographic applications.
- Apps become cyber-pimp?!
Prostitution by apps like ‘1Km,’ and ‘Who’s here’ make the headlines these days. These apps display the pictures and age of users of the opposite sex as well as the distance to reach them. Some women start to use the apps for prostitution.
According to media research, the app ‘1km’ has 230,000 users and it offers data of 90 opposite sex-users around. 8 people are shown wearing bikinis or underwear and 2 people claim that they are prostitutes. A 23-year-old woman said, ‘If you give me 500,000 won, I can be your sex slave,’ and a 24-year-old man charged ‘200,000 won per hour’.
The problem is that the police can’t enforce the law against this as an illegal action. One police officer said, ‘It’s hard because this secret deal via message is impossible to crack down’ and ‘because posting obscene pictures don’t reveal any type of infringement, so it’s hard to consider apps as a problem’.
- Your personal information could get out without anyone knowing
Recently, another problem has surfaced---the hacking pages disguised as social networks that can hack your user ID and personal information. The sites send a message that makes you check your Twitter, Facebook, or any type of SNS by e-mail or text message and then it makes you login at what you assume to be a login page. Here’s the twist and I’m sure you already know, it’s FAKE! We users, without having any doubt, log in and become victims of cyber hackers. Most users become victims because they often use their Twitter ID and password at other portal sites too and it could cause secondary damage that exposes your personal information such as credit card details. Since you are damaged unwittingly, it’s impossible to notice the exact amount of damage caused.
As you can see, if you depend too much on Smartphones, it is more likely that you receive severe damage. Technology has been developed to help people, but it is also to be misused by people.
Now moving on, let us see the way to use Smartphones smartly.
To use a smart phone, User’s should also be ‘SMART’
A Smartphone is more than your average mobile device. They present more various functions but there are a lot of steps to follow in order to take advantage of them. I described a Smartphone as a ‘clever phone’ above but if its user isn’t smart enough, it could be just a piece of expensive junk. The fundamental purpose of a Smartphone is to make users ‘SMART’. For that purpose, you need to study and learn your product. You have to understand the basic elements of Smartphones: What are its features, what operating system is on it, and what functions you are mainly going to use. I believe that it’s the minimum obligation of technology users.
- How to use Smartphones ‘smartly’
To use smartphones effectively, you have to remember this rule.
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As I have said above, Smartphones are now widely spread everywhere. It is not uncommon to see two people sitting together, viewing their own Smartphone respectively. When you are with someone alone, eye contact and conversation are needed; one staring at his Smartphone while the other talks is not an appropriate way to behave. This awkward situation can also happen with more than two people. If several people begin to use their phones, other people will also start to pull theirs out as well.
So I’d like to recommend this. When you are with people in a public place, you should not take your Smartphone out. Focus on the people around you and not on the people who appear onscreen. It’s nothing complicated, just common courtesy.