Special Report: Cell phone overload

Almost everyone has a cell phone.  They've become such a big part of our lives that many people feel incomplete if they don't have their phone with them.  Which begs the question, are phones becoming too important to us?

Texting and driving,  talking on the phone and driving and playing games rather than playing with our kids, all point to the prominence phones play in our lives.

While no one can deny cell phones are convenient and helpful in managing our day to day lives,  one could argue that we use them too much. 

I was recently in a restaurant and of the five tables, people at four of them were either on or using their phones.  The fifth table, ours, had cell phones on it, but were not being used as I was doing research for this story!

Heather Newkirk and her husband Kody own a car wholesale business.  Staying in touch with business partners and each other is vital their success.

Heather estimates she sends and receives at least 30 texts a day, "I feel lost without my phone.  If I leave the house and I don't have it, I get anxious and turn around and go home and get it."

We weren't always this connected.  Five years ago, texting and smart phones weren't nearly as prevalent as they are today. They've changed the way we live our lives.

Anita Layton teaches English, among other subjects, at Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau.

Incoming freshmen are reminded that the letters "u" and "r" are just that—letters, not words.  Layton says some of that will creep into their writing, but that it's an easy fix.

What she worries about is that kids are hiding behind their keypads, "They need that face to face communication.

As they go to college and into the workforce, they need to be able to interact with others face to face and they can't do that if they're always texting."

We spoke with students at Notre Dame, all of whom have a cell phone.  Dannielle Perry has had a phone since she was eight years old.  She estimates she sends anywhere from 300-500 texts a day to her friends.

I asked her if she ever thought about leaving her bedroom and talking with her family and she laughed and said, "I don't do that."

Kayla Holland also texts but says the rule at her house is, "At the dinner table, our phones have to be in our rooms or somewhere else."

No doubt that cell phones play an important role in our lives and will continue to do so.  But perhaps, sometimes we need to put them down and walk away.

Controlling our phones, rather than them controlling us.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.