Sunday, February 21, 2010

Teens & Their Cell Phones

You ask the magic question, "What is the one thing you can not live without" to any typical teenager and it's highly likely that their answer will be, "Like, OMG, my cell phone!" And here lies the problem...

The problem isn't the cell phone, and it's not even the hormone raging teenager - It's the troublesome combination of the two.

I think it's fair to say that most everyone these days has a cell phone. Shoot, some even have two or three. We all know that they are an important part of our daily lives, right? Well, when did phones start taking over ones life? This is what I think has happened to the American Teenager. I see it all the time... a teenager walking in the mall with her head down, and it's not because she's sulking that she didn't have enough allowance to buy that awesome shirt in the stores' window... No, she has her head down because she's texting at an alarming speed, concentrating ever so carefully to make sure her words are "spoken" just right to her recipient. You know those nifty little cell phone holders in purses these days? Well, teenagers don't even use them; they hold onto them like they're sacred artifacts. They wouldn't want to miss a call, or OMG!... A text.

What really irks me about all of this is that I'm finding more and more everyday that teenagers are so darn focused on their dear sweet cell phones and are so darn busy texting that they have no idea where they're walking, or better yet... who they're walking into! And you can forget an "Excuse me" out of them... uh uh... you're in their way.

I went to the mall today for some window shopping (Yes, I actually look in the store windows!). Everywhere I looked there was someone on their cell phone talking, someone texting, or just simply playing with it. Now, I'm not saying I don't enjoy tinkering with my iPhone on a frequent basis, but c'mon, why does someone even bother going to the mall if they aren't even planning to look around them, fumble through sale racks, or I don't know... good 'ol fashioned "people watch"? What's even the point? Is that text really that important? Is it necessary to have your phone glued to your ear? I don't think so.

After my window shopping trip was over, I did some "people watching". It was an experiment. I sat on a bench in the mall and just watched. I observed people as they walked by and noted what I saw. Mind you, this was after I was run into by the young, fingers-on-a-mission, texting teenager. What I saw was schools of friends walking together,but not really talking to each other. I saw very young children sitting on the floors in front of the stores their parents must have been in doing what else... Texting. I saw one girl who appeared visibly upset while attentively texting. She was so involved in her texts that she was oblivious as to where she was and ended up walking right into a center kiosk display. Classic.
Another thing about teens and cell phones is the simple fact that they even have them in first place! I'm sorry, but I just don't understand why they would even need them. Emergencies? Puulease! That may have been how it started. You know the question, "But Mom, Dad... I promise I'll only use it if it's an emergency! I swear!" And, parents fell for it. Hook. Line. Sinker. I was a teenager once. I remember how it is. Kids want what other kids have. They don't want to be considered "uncool".   But what gets me is, I'm seeing kids as young as 9 & 10 getting phones! What?! I was in Target the other day and saw two kids walking with their mother on the cell phone aisle pointing to the phone they wanted. And, of course... they point to the  one with the qwerty keyboard that can facilitate their gobs of future texts. I saw these kids point, beg, and conquer. They walked out of the store with their new phones and with their heads held high. But this would be temporary - Soon, their heads will cower like all the others. They will soon have very stiff necks. They will very soon not pay attention to their surroundings. They will soon trade in their independence for a small piece of technology that gives them instant gratification towards impersonal conversations .

Teens & Cell Phones... watch your back. You might just get run into.

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