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Hi-tech risk to pocket, health

Patna, June 13: Gone are the days when everyone flaunted the same cellphone models. Given the huge range of modern-age gizmos available in the market, buyers today are spoilt for choices.

No more is a muffler or a goggle a style statement for the youths. In the electronic age, it’s all about making a statement among your peers with the most unique and latest gadget, be it a cellphone, a playstation portable (PSP) or an iPod.

However, not everyone is happy with the advent of expensive and advanced gadgets in the market.

“Most of my friends have laptops. Now I too am planning to buy one otherwise I might be considered as someone who does not know about modern gadgets,” said Krishna Nand Pathak, a resident of the Shivpuri locality.

Pathak also plans to buy a 3G-enabled cellphone that will keep him abreast with the changing trends of the day.

The youths are not just hooked to their latest gadgets, they are also flashing them in public as a status symbol. They are far too many gadgets — laptops, iPhones, iPods, PSPs, digital cameras, Mp4 players — to keep them busy. Who has the time to spend on outdoor activities, friends?

The ones who are not as thrilled about the gizmo boom are the parents, and understandably so. They are the ones who have to cough up huge sums to meet the demands of their children.

Umesh Kumar, a Patna resident, was in for a surprise recently. “I was surprised when my nine-year-old son asked for a 3G-enabled handset when we went to purchase a cellphone. I had never expected that my son would be so aware about the new-age gizmos.” The awareness of the kid is surprising for Kumar but what is shocking for him is the price range for 3G-enabled phones, which starts from Rs 8,000.

Kalpana, a resident of the city whose high-school-going son wants to buy a computer, said: “The monthly budget goes for a toss when one has to purchase such gadgets, as they carry high price tags.”

The teachers are also worried because of the excessive use of these electronic gadgets. “A judicious use of electronic gadgets is good but the concern is that now youths have stopped taking interest in outdoor games. This is affecting their health,” said Kumud Mehta, a teacher of St Albert’s High School.

The members of the medical fraternity also share their worries. They point at the health hazards to drive home the point.

“Many of the electronic gadgets emit radiation, which can damage the ear drums and brain. The youths need to be informed about such things,” said Dr N.K. Ojha, a city-based general physician.

Dr Ojha also has a word of caution for those who opt for loud ring tones. He added that not only do the gizmos damage the eardrums but excessive exposure to high decibel levels also affects human behaviour.

However, the shop owners are laughing all the way to the bank. They are elated over the gadget boom in the market. “Customers are coming in large numbers to demand the latest gadgets. It is a good thing for us,” said Anshu, who works at a shop that deals in electronic gadgets on Boring Road. Ravikant Singh, another trader, echoed Anshu. “3G-enabled handsets are the most sought-after product these days,” he said.

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