In the last 25 years, the cell phone has gone from being an business tool to a common place personal communications device used by almost everyone. Most countries call it a "mobile phone" but in the United States it is more generally known as a "cell phone". In some parts of the world there are now more cell phones than there are land line phones and this trend is most certainly going to continue.
In advanced markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Israel, Singapore and many others, is is very common for young children to have cell phones. Children as young as 6 to 7 might have a cell phone account opened in their name as the parents see the mobile phone as a safety device that they can use to keep track of their children. Most of those children will be getting their parents older used phone but in Japan, companies are already specifically targeting the young children's mobile phone market.
The United States is well behind the rest of the world in most aspects of the cell phone industry. Only in the last few years has a real drop in land line phones as people switch to mobile phones been evident. A far fewer percentage of children have cell phone in the U.S. than they do in many parts of the rest of the world. The ones who do have one though, see them as a fashion accessory and that has given a rise to the ring tone industry and other industries catering to making the mobile phone look cool. If you are young, not only do you have to have a cell phone but you have to have a cool case and ringtones to establish your identity.
There are different rules of etiquette in each country. In America, it is common place to hear people almost anywhere talking on a cell phone. Movie theaters and libraries may be restricted but people commonly use their cell phones in trains, busses, airports, shopping malls and many other common gathering places. Contrasting this is Japan where a cell phone ring will almost never be heard and people are extremely courteous. Cell phones are not used in trains and other places where they may bother others and it is considered rude to use them. To get around this, texting via their cell phones is the preferred method of communication in Japan.
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