DAY by day I keep a checklist of the words that the media use to describe mobile phones and like a gothic novel dripping with fear and foreboding most of the language is dark, sinister and designed to scare. We are warned about the hidden dangers, the lurking threats and the criminal evils that hide away in the sim-cards of our lives. A recent Panorama report on smartphones abandoned any sense of perspective and was subtitled The Dark Side.

I am on a crusade to challenge contrived doom and to make a positive and democratic case for the mobile phone and its very welcoming domination of our daily lives.

My first argument is the old sociological canard – “folk devils and moral panics” – the thread of youth studies which argues that each new innovation or modernisation, especially those adopted by teenagers are deemed to be a threat to the established order.

In the 1950s, cinema chains were driven to despair by Rock Around the Clock, the anodyne teen movie that brought Teddy Boys into public prominence. Only a few months ago it was grime and the censorship of the underground movie Blue Story.

Youth culture, and the supposedly anti-social behaviours of the young, has enraged the splenetic fears of parental society since the war. Hula hoops, Mods and rockers, punks, goths, flick-knives, skateboards and the Beastie Boys with their Volkswagen bling have been subjected to hilarious over-reaction from a mostly right-wing press who want to hold back the waves of change and prevent young people from expressing themselves.

In the minds of adults, mobile phones are fast becoming a moral panic, the things that surly teenagers cannot be separated from, the devices that connect them to perpetual danger out there in the sick society, that their parents’ generation has enabled, and the handsets that have depraved language to such an extent that young people think text speak is gr8.

READ MORE: Phone obsession risks doing damage to young people

Oh how the young must laugh at a generation of parental Scots raised on going to the shops with paper wrapped in a bundle of coins to buy 3lbs of veg, 6oz of butter and pack of biccies. Convenient abbreviation is fine – but only when we do it.

The smartphone is the Swiss Army knife of communication: a camera, an encyclopaedia, a mobile library, a telephone, a calculator, a notepad, a clock, a compass, a pack of playing cards and cornucopia of applications that checks your heart-rate, tests your blood pressure and orders your shopping.

To blame this handy device for the decline of civilization is to blame the bicycle for strained calf muscles.

Those of you raging at a child for being on their phone too much should at least acknowledge its part in our recent democracy.

When the ITV Calendar reporter Joe Pike left for work he probably slipped his mobile phone into his jacket pocket blithely unaware of the role it would play in the final days of 2019 General Election.

The National:

Within a matter of hours he was in front of the Prime Minister showing him a compromising picture of a young boy sleeping on the floor of Leeds General Hospital.

Strangely, Johnson could not cope with the implications of the photograph and inexplicably he snatched the phone and tried to hide it in his pocket with the view to resetting the agenda and parroting the phrases that came to dominate the election – Get Brexit Done, Oven-Ready Deal and, by implication, When In Doubt, Lie.

READ MORE: Stuart Cosgrove: 2019 is the year TV faced death by 1000 subscriptions

Yes, I agree that in obvious cases of public safety mobile phone are a fatal distraction. It is right that we have legislated against their use in cars but it’s always worth reminding ourselves that the object of derision is largely an inanimate object and it is the carelessly distracted human that is the real risk.

Towards the end of the year, a jury at Lewes County Court in Sussex failed to reach a majority verdict on the death of four Romanian workers swept to their death in the English channel.

Under the attention-seeking headline “WhatsApp skipper jury fails on verdict”, the article made much of the trawler captain having sent a WhatsApp message in the run-up to the tragedy, and then tucked away in the very last sentence of the report was the nearly irrelevant line “the trawler was not deemed seaworth.”

What do you think was the more salient issue: that the captain had taken to the seas in a leaking, decrepit and unsafe boat or that he was a member of a WhatsApp group?

WE have become so used to seeing mobile media, in the form of smartphones or iPads or Kindles, being so casually demonised that we often take for granted swathes of regurgitated guff that blame them for almost every modern affliction.

My personal favourite in the long list of blame-game fantasies is that mobile phones are killing the art of conversation. To believe this, you have to remember all those enlightened days standing in a bus shelter next to the late Clive James as he charmed the bus queue with sparkling wit and repartee, or the golden days of domestic interaction when your mum suddenly switched off Coronation Street and said, “Enough of that. Let’s discuss the role of women in the Jacobite Rebellions.” No I can’t remember those days either.

So far we have identified a few sacred places where mobile phones should be limited – the primary school classroom and football changing rooms where restless childlike emotions are easily distracted from what they are being told.

Repertory theatres and church services, both of which rely on quiet decorum, have also restricted the use of mobile phones, but normally they are silenced or switched off rather than confiscated.

The National:

Smartphones are now such a prescient and pervasive part of everyday life that we have already become accustomed to them and trying to turn back the hands of time is neither credible nor desirable.

In the very early days of mobile media, I vividly remember jumping to the same kind of lazy conclusion we now hear daily about smartphones – they’re rude, bad manners, trivial, pathetic, a distraction and, most bizarre of all, they are as dangerous as drugs and part of a dependency culture. But I can pinpoint the day, I woke up to the smartphone’s unique power.

It was a freezing cold November morning in 2010 and my central heating had gone on the blink.

After the usual pantomime trying to get a heating engineer, a man mighty of girth and carrying a case full of baffling tools, arrived. We proceeded up to the doorway to a loft where the combi boiler was located, where I suffered the usual rituals of sucking lips and furrowed brows, until the front was removed to the boiler.

Unfamiliar with the type of boiler, the chubby genius stepped back, took a photo of the works and sent in it by text to his head-office, by returns they then sent a PDF of the boilers’ user and installation guidelines.

A broken fan was identified and the exact replacement was dispatched instantly. So without leaving the wee stairwell, the man of mighty girth had drawn on centrally located expertise, exchanged information and taken receipt of a digital version of the document that I had long since lost.

It was, according to the engineer, a daily occurrence, and as he left the house he said: ‘‘You know, Stuart, we live in a transactional era.”

As he waddled back to his van, it seemed entirely the wrong time to tell him there was a new app for weight loss. We live in transactional times – true dat.