Tech Time: Mobile Phone Myths

We keep hearing them; and they almost sound true; mobile phone myths and urban legends have a life of their own. Even when debunked, they are rehashed and repeated over and over again, to a new generation of mobile phone users. Or, are they only branded as myths as part of an elaborate conspiracy designed to lull us into a false sense of security? Let’s explore for ourselves.

Myth: Mobile phones can give you brain tumors
Reality: There is no tangible scientific evidence that mobile phones can cause cancer or develop brain tumors. But there is lots of anecdotal evidence that they cause headaches and increase stress levels. Mobile phones emit a low power electromagnetic field, and when used for prolonged periods can emit heat. After nearly two decades of heavy usage, there are no reported cases of brain tumors as a direct result. My advice is however, use mobile phones only when necessary … just in case.

Myth: Mobile phones can provide keyless entry for your vehicle
Reality: It is not possible to open your car using the keyless entry remote over your mobile phone. Its been widely circulated via email, that you can use your phone as a keyless entry remote, by having a friend activate the remote on one end of the call and you placing your mobile phone near your car. Keyless entry systems use radio frequencies, that cannot be transmitted over the phone.

Myth: Mobile phones cause explosions at gas stations
Reality: The electromagnetic field and the electrical current associated with a mobile phone are not powerful enough to ignite gas. This myth came about following a late 90’s news report regarding an incident in Asia. But, there is no evidence to support the claim. Although your phone isn’t likely set off any explosions, you should be paying attention and not on your phone while at the gas pump. REMINDER: Smoking in gas stations is not allowed.

Myth: Using a mobile phone in flight will cause the plane to crash
Reality: Crash is a strong word. Using a mobile phone in flight will not cause a plane to crash. But that doesn’t mean you should whip out your phone next time you are airborne. There are lots of other reasons to stow your phone while in the air. Many systems on an aircraft use wireless technology to communication, which can be affected by mobile phones. But, more importantly, it is crucial that you pay attention to what’s going on around you (and not your phone), when you are careening above the planet in a narrow mental tube at hundreds of miles an hour.

Myth: Charging your phone every day will reduce the battery life
Reality: Newer Li-Ion batteries don’t have this issue which was true of older NiCd and NiMH batteries. Charge your phone as often as you need to, but don’t overcharge your phone (because there is no need to have a mobile phone charger plugged in unnecessarily, not because it’s bad for the phone or battery).

Myth: Using your mobile phone while charging may cause it to explode.
Reality: Your phone will not explode, nor will you get electrocuted just because you are on the phone while charging. The fuse in the charger will likely blow before either occurrence. You will notice that your phone gets hot far more quickly while talking on charge. I’ll end the same way I started, use only when necessary.

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