Mobile Phones

Back in my day, when pizza and hot dogs were separate things, we didn’t even have smartphones. This is what I imagine I will be telling my teenage daughter in about 15 years from now.

No Mum… I've told you a million times, it's Ctrl C Ctrl V… Photo: Thinkstock

Also “go to bed, it’s after 4pm” and “no, you can’t borrow my hoverboard, it’s way too powerful”.

My daughter is only 14 months old and is already fascinated with my iPhone. I honestly believe there is something about the Apple logo that subliminally attracts children from a very young age. Think about it: Why is the logo placed so conveniently at the back of the phone?

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  • Elphaba says:

    05:37pm | 15/01/13

    @Colin, given the fact that you don’t know where I work, my level of education, and what I do in my spare time, I’m not sure why you think I could be suffering from Tall Poppy Syndrome. You know what they say about assumptions.  You spend every spare moment you… Read more »

  • Tom says:

    05:29pm | 15/01/13

    If listening to the radio and reading a book makes someone a tall poppy, then we’re all tall poppies. Read more »


NSW now has the toughest mobile phone laws in Australia where if you do anything other than pick up your phone to pass it to a passenger you will be hit with a $298 fine and lose three demerit points.

M8 u hv no idea how stpid i am

Even pressing silent or stop to kill an incoming call will be illegal, in keeping with the mountain of research showing how massively distracting any use of the phone is while you’re behind the wheel. Now, Victoria’s top highway patrol cop wants to go one better and make it illegal even to have your mobile switched on while you are in the car at all.

It sounds on the face of it like an overreaction. Certainly it would make life incredibly difficult for the many people whose jobs require them to be in contact while out on the road, people who work in sales and deliveries, and who are set up with all the latest hands-free Bluetooth gizmos.

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  • tez says:

    06:49pm | 05/11/12

    @MP if we always drove on autobahns you have a point but as we don’t speeding dose cause accidents. Read more »

  • expat says:

    06:46pm | 05/11/12

    Oh ffs, banning everything is not the solution, people will stop using their phones and they will start fiddling with the radio.. How about focus on driver education and training… You know that thing that improves your general driving skills, something which most drivers do not have any of in… Read more »


unreachable /nritəb(ə)l/ adj. unable to be reached or contacted; inaccessible.

An exasperated pilot tries to crash his plane into the sun rather than listen to another bloody mobile conversation. Picture: Thinkstock

Sorry to spell it out but I wanted you to see the true meaning of this wonderful word one last time before it disappears into the kind of thin air that airplanes with Wi-Fi flap about in.

Technobabble has brought about many new dictionary definitions, from floppy disks to hard drives and everything in between. But now technology is making the dictionary thinner rather than fatter by rendering words such as ‘unreachable’ passé, or at least confined to describing children’s footballs in tree branches.

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  • Nikki says:

    01:43pm | 15/10/12

    Sounds like my mother.  She ‘narrates’ everything and talks too loud. She’s American though, so that might have something to do with it. Read more »

  • Alicia says:

    12:18pm | 15/10/12

    Sounds like she had something wrong with her mentally aside from just being “dim-witted”. Read more »


Okay, I realise as far as pressing, first world problems go, this isn’t nudging the top of the charts, but it’s Friday — so bugger it.

And then I said to her….

I am puzzled by many things, but fairly high on the list is why people make/take phone calls while in/on the toilet. Granted it’s probably not the worst sound you could hear emanating from a toilet cubicle, but seriously, why?

Do you feel so important sitting on “the throne” that you need to take that call right then and there? Can’t you call them back?

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  • Daemon says:

    11:11am | 23/06/12

    Phuque the humour today is outstanding. Read more »

  • Daemon says:

    11:09am | 23/06/12

    Amazing what can be done with an inter-planetary telescope…. Read more »


We respect Dr Teo’s work as a brain surgeon and acknowledge his right to express his strong personal opinions about mobile phone safety and health issues.

Hi Grandma…

However, our industry relies on the expert opinion of national and international health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which have found no convincing evidence that radio frequency exposure within internationally accepted safety limits causes adverse harmful health effects.

The WHO says in its fact sheet Number 193 of June 2011: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”

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  • marley says:

    03:50pm | 09/05/12

    @emmy - I have no idea what you have written on the carbon tax.  And frankly, I don’t give a damn.  I was talking about science and the preponderance of evidence in general, not something you said that I never read. And no, you’re not saying we should listen to… Read more »

  • Emmy says:

    07:02am | 09/05/12

    @marley… actually you have just proved that when you do read you only take out of it what you want to take out of it and not what has been written or said. I made no comment about human activity and global warning and whether or not it is happening… Read more »


There are three undisputed facts about the link between mobile phones and brain tumours. Firstly, the jury is still out. Secondly, the number of mobile phone users is increasing rapidly and currently stands at over five billion worldwide. Thirdly, IF there is a causal link between exposure to non-ionising radiation and brain tumours, then the social and financial consequences would be devastating and on a scale never before witnessed in history.

Oh sure, next you'll be telling me cigarettes are bad for me! Pic: Supplied

With over twenty one million mobile phones in use in Australia, why are we not spending the resources on finding the answer? Perhaps the answer is one that all of us would rather not imagine. Could those with a vested interest be misguiding us?

The other, less divisive explanation is that epidemiologists and scientists truly believe that the jury is no longer out and that there is absolutely no link.

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  • Ornantida says:

    10:28am | 17/10/12

    <a ><IMG></IMG></a> <a >Welcome to More Life Store </a> More Life Store is an online medical advisory and drugs dispensary that assists customers in having their personal health information evaluated by a licensed medical practitioner, at the same time, providing the ease of obtaining reliable and affordable medications in one… Read more »

  • icon design says:

    07:39pm | 18/09/12

    What turns out? P.S. Please review 16x16 Pixel Toolbar Icons from openwebgraph77 Read more »


No doubt you’ve heard the rather disturbing news overnight that a Jetstar pilot was texting midflight, which resulted in an aborted landing when he forgot to deploy the landing gear.

Our token attempt to prove this story is not ageist

It’s pretty funny, only it’s not too, for a whole bunch of super obvious reasons.

Just recently, I was in the hands on a young driver who was navigating with the use of their phone as we drove around the suburbs. They had eyes more for their small electronic device than the road. I didn’t say anything, but I should have.

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  • handbags says:

    04:26am | 12/06/12

    WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. ? Read more »

  • Joanne Bennett says:

    07:51am | 24/04/12

    Put them in prison for attempted manslaughter as there is a very real possibility of killing someone. Read more »


If you have a mobile phone, internet service or fixed line and you live in Australia; chances are you’ve experienced had some sort of issue with your service at one time or another. No big deal, right?

You call the customer service helpline of your provider and begin to explain the problem. You might be told you are speaking to the wrong department and get transferred … multiple times. You might be kept on hold. You might be promised a call back. You might, if you’ve spoken to the right department, be promised a solution, which may or may not happen. If not, you’ll have to call back, and possibly even start again.

It’s no great secret that customer service across the telco industry is lacking. Last year was a record year for complaints – almost 200,000 of us had to resort to taking our problem to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. By comparison, the banks – another industry Australians love to complain about – generate around 24,000 complaints a year to the financial ombudsman.

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  • Robert Smissen of country SA says:

    09:02pm | 16/02/12

    I make a prediction, Centrelink call centre will go overseas in the next 12 months Read more »

  • Robert Smissen of country SA says:

    08:59pm | 16/02/12

    For me the trick is to take charge of the call straight away, tell the to slow down, speak clearly, get them to repeat what they have just said, tell them to speak up, it works! ! January 2011 I made the mistake of buying a Sony Experria Mini 10,… Read more »


It’s a sunny afternoon and I’m sitting on the grass, headphones in, leaning against a retaining wall in a busy Sydney park. Suddenly, while thumbing through my phone, it’s snatched from my hand, inches from the ground. It all happens so fast I just jump up and yell, “Hey!”.

Oi, small cartoon guy, that's my phone!

My brain catches up with what’s happened. A tall man, in a white shirt, sprints away and I see two, thin, white headphone chords flailing behind him.

My phone has been stolen.

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  • Fadia says:

    03:11pm | 10/02/12

    “No Moe beach bums piosng as police officers?“I hear those words before recently….. Read more »

  • Takamasa says:

    11:26am | 10/02/12

    Oh yes FishHawk we only use the most aaevncdd technology over here in the fight against crime. Read more »


Ever since mobile phones first popped up on shopping centre shelves equipped with tiny 2 megapixel cameras, we’ve been subjected to endless hysteria about how, gosh darnit, that new fangled Generation Y just can’t go a minute without MMSing pictures of their genitalia to each other.

Today Tonight and talkback radio have frightened the bejesus out of us with horror stories of teenagers’ naked pictures being spread around entire schools. Parents have chewed through fingernail after fingernail fretting: Just what sinister sexual secrets lie behind the PIN on my teenager’s phone? What’s happening to our daughters? Could somebody PLEASE think of the children?!

Newsflash, wowsers. Sexting is no big deal. It never really was.

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  • Daniel Piotrowski

    Daniel Piotrowski says:

    02:51pm | 17/12/11

    @Wowser and @CA If something like that spreads non consensually, the law should protect, not criminalize, adolescents who only ever meant it consensually.And at the same time it should equally criminalize those who are non consensually spreading sext. The research shows kids do it, regardless of the law anyway. You… Read more »

  • Daniel Piotrowski

    Daniel Piotrowski says:

    02:45pm | 17/12/11

    Good point, but I really don’t think you can stop it. Read more »


As of next month Air New Zealand passengers will be allowed to use mobiles while on board, enabling Kiwi jet-setters to advise their loved ones that their flight is on schedule and they’ll be home by sucks.

What really sucks about this move is that it will destroy the sole remaining bastion of public peace, the sanctuary of the aircraft, which in this hyper-connected modern world is the only escape from texts, tweets, emails, and the sheer horror of the loud and long-winded conversations of strangers.

I’ve never been to New Zealand but from what I can gather it consists of two islands, each of them about 500km long, with a large airport in the middle somewhere so that its citizens can emigrate to Australia to find work. Based on this rough estimate the longest domestic flight in NZ would take about 40 minutes and the extremely popular one-way flight to Bondi only marginally longer.

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  • Franko says:

    10:11am | 16/02/11

    Wasn’t the fatal bikies brawl at the Sydney domestic terminal organised by in-flight text messaging? Read more »

  • thatmosis says:

    06:15am | 16/02/11

    macca, not yet but coming to a disaster near you soon as they send their servicing overseas. have a good look at the number of incidents over the last 12 months.   Why should I have to buy noise cancelling headphones to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. I… Read more »


Last Friday I did the unthinkable – I switched off my mobile phone.

What are the effects of early mobile phone use on young heads? Pic: AFP

At first there was the separation anxiety, not unlike the cravings one feels when on a diet, that insatiable yearning for something you know you can’t have. Then there was the involuntary impulse to reach into my pocket to check the phone for a text message, email or a missed call. Every look at the blank screen was disappointing.

As lunchtime approached, I’d become suitably acclimatised to this change to my daily routine. I read the newspaper uninterrupted over a strong Irish tea. It makes you realise how much the mobile impacts on everyday life. I use it far too much. If you ask me, enough is enough.

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  • vpybrpixx says:

    04:07am | 17/10/11

    FbfZX6 wwnlzqlkjrab, ccawhvxumhwk, [link=]wefcgrfaskpv[/link], Read more »

  • johnny says:

    04:20pm | 30/05/10

    Good article…. i agree with him…. i hate picking up phone calls everyday… especially from telemarketers….. better switch my mobile phone on friday till late of sunday. People need times for them selves and enjoy their live without being disturbed too much. Social life is important, but taking your own… Read more »


Now the movie Australia was long. Really long. Which might explain why when I saw it at the cinema the guy down the row not only answered two phone calls, but smoked two cigarettes inside the cinema during the flim.

Hey fella, the off button's on the top right

I wish now The Drover had turned his head from the dusty plain, stepped down through the silver screen into the cinema and said to the guy what I was too shy to say: turn it off you selfish idiot! (Just to clarify this Drover dream sequence of mine was all about mobile phone etiquette, nothing else, really.)

Harry Connick Jr, however, would have been as useless as me. Sitting there wishing the battery would go flat but politely soldiering on “in character”.

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  • Michael says:

    04:09pm | 30/09/09

    Any one that is talking on a phone and smoking in a cinema is looking for a fight, as much as you would want to tell them off, I’d avoid doing it unless you want to fight too. Read more »

  • Patrick says:

    02:37pm | 30/09/09

    Australia. What a crappy movie. Why does whats her face continue to call him “drover” from the beggining to the end of the flim? Was his name actually “drover”, or did it never occur to her to actually ask his name? Read more »


Mobile phones are the new cigarettes.

The smoke-phone: your international passport to conversational pleasure.

Not when it comes to cancer, of course. That’s still unproven, according to mobile phone companies which have much deeper pockets than this humble scribe.

No, what I’m talking about is the way we’re ditching the fags for another addictive accessory. Instead of going downstairs for a smoko, we fondle the slimline package in our pocket, relishing the thought of our next text or tweet.

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  • mick says:

    01:07pm | 12/08/09

    well, if kiddies are smoking less and calling up more, thats gotta be a good thing, huh?? but, i reckon making constant calls/texting etc… has gotta cost you more than buying cigs in the long run. at least you wont die of lung cancer (or until studies find that in… Read more »

  • Ash Simmonds says:

    05:52pm | 11/08/09

    Futzing around on a phone banishes social anxiety?  Dammit why didn’t they tell me!  Now I just need friends who’ll give me their real numbers… Read more »


“Real transformative change never begins in Washington.” (Pause for quacks.)

You’ll need to turn up the volume but the quacking is audible early in the video.

Got a story about a mortifying mobile moment? Share it in the comments.

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  • watty says:

    11:00am | 03/07/09

    What duck? Just sounded like more Obama quackery to me. Read more »


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