Phony satisfaction

By  Natalie Guadagnoli, Youth Speak News
  • May 25, 2007
I can remember many times where a cell phone has gone off at the wrong time, but there was this one time I’ll never forget. I was at Palm Sunday Mass and a cell phone rang right in the middle of it. I couldn’t believe it. The person didn’t even turn the phone off because he didn’t want anyone to know it was him.  He had not only disrespected the people around him, the priest and the altar servers, but most importantly, God.
Having a cell phone is fine if you want to stay connected to other people or need it in an emergency, but you need to know when to use it. When people don’t turn their phones off during a sacred time, such as Mass, it would suggest they’re waiting for a call. If they’re waiting for a phone call while in the middle of Mass it also means that they’re focused on other things. They don’t pay any attention to the readings and what the priest is saying because they’re more concerned about when someone is going to call. They begin to disrespect God and defeat the whole purpose of going to church.

We go to Mass to have a connection with God, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. How can we be connected to God if we’re more concerned about our cell phones? Are we worshipping God the Father or the “cell phone god”?

Church isn’t the only place where people abuse cell phones. Schools have the same problem. Students are using their cell phones in class for many reasons. Instead of paying attention, they’re text messaging friends. They use them to cheat on tests by copying cheat notes onto their text messaging, save them, then use the notes to copy off of later. They also may forget to leave it on silent and the phone goes off in class, disrupting the class. If a phone goes off in class, it not only distracts the phone owner but classmates. The students end up disrespecting the teacher, their classmates and the rules set by the administration.

For all these reasons the Toronto Public District School Board and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board have banned the use of cell phones in their classrooms. Does that mean that this will eventually become the norm in all schools?

As students, we need to remember school is a place to learn, not text message. We don’t realize how privileged we are to even get a chance to attend school, unlike many children in Third World countries. In a sense, we also disrespect what God has given us.

Now there are ways to respect God and own a cell phone at the same time. We just need to know that when we’re in the middle of something like Mass, school or even a presentation, our phones should be turned off. That may seem hard to do for some people  because having your cell phone off means you’re disconnected. But what’s  wrong with being connected to God or the people around you instead? 

If you truly respect God and all He has given you, you’ll make sure to use new technologies appropriately.

(Guadagnoli is a Grade 11 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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