Because many Americans no longer get their news from their living room television.
The modern version of American television's Emergency Broadcasting System is the Wireless Emergency Alerts phone on newer smart phones.
The wireless alerts are designed to notify mobile phone users about local emergencies, such as kidnappings (Amber Alerts), severe weather and even national emergencies from the office of the US President.
Alerts are localized by geography so you'll only receive notifications from the authorities based upon where your phone is located. However, roll out of the service has not been perfect. There have been cases where phones noisily alerted phone users in the middle of the night for child kidnappings hours after the child had been found safe. Fortunately, the system has gotten better as authorities have learned how to coordinate and time the alerts.
But as a phone user, you can also turn off the Amber and Emergency Alerts. Or chaeck that the alerts are enabled. There's no way to disable a presidential alert.
To enable or disable emergency alerts in Android, go to Settings then click the More option in Wireless & Networks. Then scroll to Cell Broadcasts to enable or disable alerts. Android is fickle so you may find settings in a different location based upon the version and the phone carriers implementation.
iOS (iPhone and iPad)
Alerts can be changed by going to Settings, then Notifications. At the bottom are two settings under Government Alerts, Amber Alerts and Emergency Alerts which can be enabled or disabled.
More information on Emergency Alerts is available from FEMA at http://www.ready.gov/alerts
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