It is hard to imagine that a few short years ago, there was no such thing as a cell phone or smartphone. People used landline phones – fixed into their homes – to communicate with others. When they left their homes, they either had an answering machine or simply missed any incoming calls.

This all changed with the invention of the cell phone – initially a basic commodity that people could carry around with them to receive and make calls and send the odd text message. Things changed even further when the iPhone and smartphone came into being, allowing them to pay their bills, play games, connect to the internet, send and receive emails and chat with friends using WhatsApp rather than in person.

They even have a dating option in the form of the Tinder app and can swipe left or right, depending on whether they fancy a particular user.

Cell phones and smartphones – are they really a good thing?

However many people don’t consider the advent of smartphones to always be a good thing. Groups of people are often spotted in cafes and restaurants, totally ignoring their human company and engrossed in that tiny screen, thumbs working like crazy. Yet more sit in beautiful locations at the beach or in the mountains – totally ignoring the scenery and concentrating on their phones. One thing they all have in common is the same expression, dead eyes and a slight smile on the lips.

Others walk the streets, concentrating on their tech rather than the public around them and often become the cause of vehicle accidents, simply by not watching where they are going.

As noted by the Independent UK, and Inquisitr a while back, the Germans even came up with a term for this type of user – “Smombies,” i.e. smartphone-using zombies. Some German cities even invented special crossing signs on the pavements, hoping the tech-addicted public might spot them before casually walking in front of a truck.

Other cities in the world are reportedly dedicating special sidewalk lanes to those mindlessly engrossed in their technology.

Digital ‘rubber-necking’ goes viral

Even more worrying is the aspect of phone users filming accidents, murders and other horrifying events using their phones – sending live video to Facebook Live or other social media platforms instead of notifying authorities. What used to be termed simply as "rubber-necking" is getting far worse. Facebook Live is a regular scene for suicides, rapes and other horrific incidents, where thousands watch or virally share the posts.

#IfCellPhonesDidntExist hashtag hits Twitter

The top-rated, 140 character, responses to the current viral hashtag are certainly agreeing on several of the above points and adding more to the list. @propapergirl notes that without Cell Phones, she would still remember everyone’s phone number.

@MrRaceBannon noted that without the current technology, he would have to go out and buy a camera, flashlight, calculator and French/English dictionary.

@helenmaryme agreed with that sentiment.

@SethGoodtime spoke on the Smombie theme, saying people would actually watch where they are walking.

@IslesFan83 said without the popular tech, they might even get some sleep, while @vok_ally believes she may actually talk to people when she’s with them.

@spoutsmith mentioned the valid point that youngsters wouldn’t require glasses in 10 years and would learn how to socially interact with people, looking them directly in the eye, instead of mumbling with head down.

According to @sunkisseeddd, the satisfaction of being able to slam down the phone would return.

Excellent point indeed!

As for @PaladinOwl, he brought up the fact that we wouldn't have to deal with President Donald Trump's constant tweets.

So readers, what do you think would happen if cell phones suddenly ceased to exist? Let us know in the comments below.