Smartphones are figuratively going to be the death of us, but literally, that’s a different story.

We’ve all heard the banter that cell phone radiation will give us brain cancer or keeping it in our laps while driving will reduce our chances of being able to conceive. However, one area that has received little attention until recently has been electrocution. 

Last Thursday, July 11, Ma Ailun of China died from what was believed to be an electrical shock she received when using her iPhone 5 while it was charging. Details regarding the girl’s death have been sketchy, to say the least. Although Chinese authorities have ruled the cause to be electrocution, there has been no connection made with the cell phone.

On Monday, Apple began a full-scale investigation of the incident. While experts believe receiving an electrical shock from a charging iPhone is entirely possible, the chances of death are almost close to none. The issue believed to be at the forefront of Ailun’s death may not be an Apple product at all but a counterfeit charger she bought off the street, which is a huge issue emerging in China’s technology. It’s said that a counterfeit charger could lack the proper insulation, which could expose users to overheating, fires and, in Ailun's case, electrical shock. 

So the question still remains: can our cell phones really kill us? As for electrocution, it's completely likely, and Ailun’s death isn’t the first of its kind. Over the past decade, stories have surfaced regarding electrifying chargers, but never have legal actions been taken or concrete solutions imposed. Some have even gone so far to question whether these incidents are hoaxes.

In respect to cell phone radiation as an agent of cancer, although some studies claim correlation to deaths, most scientists agree it's way too early to tell. 

But what about cell phone use and driving? In the past few years, thousands of innocent lives have been claimed due to what is legally known as “distracted driving” (or in actuality, phoning/texting while driving). In these cases, can the deaths really be blamed on cell phones? I don’t think a jury would find the cell phone guilty, but it could certainly be viewed as an accessory to murder. Unfortunately, the victim is also the leading culprit. 

Although Ma’s death is a very sad story, maybe it’s telling us a little something more about the technology we all love so much. Perhaps our world is ready to turn back the clock; however, that could never happen. We’ve hit the point of no return. 

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