Describe 'in detail' the moral and ethical issues that are associated with 'cell phones'?

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  1. Cell phones that contain cameras can be used immorally to take and send pictures unknown to the subject of the picture. It is an invasion of privacy.
  2. Cell phones can be used to transmit porn, thus being used immorally.
  3. It may be considered unethical for companies to use cell phones for unsolicited spamming, especially if a person has a pre-paid program or limited minutes.
  4. It may be considred unethical for companies to send unsolicited text messages, especially since some people on the receiving end may have to pay for each text.
  5. Downloading ring tones and other apps onto a cell phone from a computer can expose the cell phone to all sorts of unwanted marketing/sales ploys, plus be costly to the cell phone owner. This is unethical.
  6. Many people leave cell phones in cabs, in bathrooms, etc. When these phones are found, they are often not turned in and are used unethically by those that find them. Also, many dishonest cab drivers sell cell phones that are left in their cabs.
  7. Some people have used their cell phones in threatening ways, to stalk people, by sending threatening messages.
  8. Is it ethical for the government to tap into our cell phones to track us? If we can believe TV shows like CSI and NCIS, this is pretty easy to do.
  9. Is it true that overexposure to cell phone technology causes brain cancer in some individuals? Is this going to be another huge issue in the future, similar to tobacco and lung cancer? The current research is not conclusive, but there is evidence of this. If it is true, it is immoral, unethical and evil if the companies knew this and didn't warn people.
  10. I personally knew of a person who considered it amusing to "borrow" his friends' cell phones and make calls to the parents of these friends, pretending the friend was being kidnapped, assaulted, etc. When the parents received these calls from their kids' phones, they freaked out and called the police, naturally. This is definitely immoral, mean, stupid.......
  11. If you lose your cell phone and someone finds it, the person that finds it has the numbers of all the people in your list of contacts. This is a huge problem if used immorally to make obscene phone calls or other unsolicited calls.
  12. Abusive spouses have used cell phones as a means of control, making calls every 10 minutes when their spouse is away. This is a form of abuse and is immoral.

That should get you started! What else can YOU think of? 

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If the previous answers were not enough, another aspect to consider is health hazards and the ethical issue of the privacy of self and others.

Morally speaking, it would not be correct for a person to make a strange audience participant in their private conversations. Therefore, opening a dialogue on the phone in a place where other people can hear you evades the privacy of the talker, and the rights of others are violated by having to be around a talker.

Ethically, there is a supposed danger connected to cell phones: First, radiation may cause brain tumors, although this has not been openly proven. Second, it may make you lose control of the vehicle. So,the most ethical thing to do is to make the right choice of leaving cell phone use to emergencies, or privately without disturbing others.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I suppose you could argue that there are a lot of moral and ethical issues related to these, most having to do with whether it is right to make profit off of things that can harm people.

For example, it has been shown that people using cell phones are in more danger of having an auto accident (if they are driving) than people who are driving drunk.  This means that there is a moral and ethical issue in pushing a product that is likely to cause car crashes and kill people.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question has been asked and answered numerous times.  It was asked by you on March 9th.  Here is the link to the answers provided you at that time.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I personally do not think that use of cell phones involve any major moral or ethical issues except the ones that may be involved in any other communication systems like fixed line phones, and snail mail. However just to contribute to examination of possible issues, I list below some thoughts as these occur to me.

  • The disturbance cell phone may cause inconvenience to other people in a public place. To this we must also add the question of etiquette of talking on cell phones in presence of others.
  • The other side of this issue is the propriety of some organizations not permitting use of cellphones in their premises. This may not be justified in all cases.
  • Possibility of distraction of talking on cell phones causing accidents.
  • Use of SMS facility by marketing companies and others for spam mail and advertising.