Mav (chrismaverick) wrote,

on teens and technology...

So I went to Easter dinner with Steph and her family, and while there, here cousin (who I think is like 14) was admiring my new iPhone. In typical teen fashion, she immediately started begging her parents for one. Her mother told her to stop and she's lucky they finally agreed to let her have a cellphone at her age.

This sparked a conversation as to whether or not it was appropriate for teens to have cell phones. Steph's other cousin (a school teacher) then went off on a tangent about how kids shouldn't have phones because they are the bane of schools. She said she confiscates more phones from kids than anything else because they aren't supposed to have them on during school hours.

I actually found this kinda disturbing. I'm actually pretty against the concept of schools being able to confiscate anything. Simply put. Shit doesn't belong to them, they shouldn't take shit. But also, I thought after Columbine and 9/11 all the rules had changed anyway. I'm totally okay with saying that kids aren't allowed to make phone calls during class, but dammit, its fucking 2008. If I have a 14 year old kid, I want to be able to get in touch with him/or on 2 seconds notice anytime I want. Period. You want to make a rule that they can't be on the phone during class. Fine. You want to give them detention if they break it. Fine. But if you take property from my kids that I bought for them, you can expect the police to come a-calling.

Anyway, this went on and eventually the cousin revealed that she takes away more cell phones during lunch than any other time. During lunch? What the fuck!?! Who cares if a kid is on the phone during lunch. Well apparently, its against the rules to have phones turned on during school hours at all. And since lunch is during school hours that counts. I pointed out that that was a dumb rule. She said, but its the rule so it has to be followed I always hate that logic. I got over blindly following rules that didn't make sense when I was like 2 years old. I sure as hell wasn't doing it when I was 14.

Anyway, her rationale was that kids are on the phone and myspace and such way too often anyway, and she'd much rather they use their lunch break to learn face to face social communication because that is more likely to help them in the real world.


I've lived in the real world for quite a while now. In fact, there is nothing more I would like in the world than to crawl back into the nice comfy world of academia and never have to leave again. That said, I can tell you without a doubt that in the real world, in 2008, face-to-face communication isn't worth shit. What you need to survive in the real world is a healthy understanding of cellphones and email. That's how the world turns. And I don't think that's going away anytime soon.

So anyway, that's the question. For everyone, but especially those of you with kids. Do teens need cell phones? And if they have cellphones what should be the policy of schools regarding them? Do you think its bad that kids are communicating virtually so often now? Do you think that at 14 or 15 a kid still needs to be "learning to socialize face-to-face?" Or do you feel like I do, that they are trying to apply old rules to a society that no longer works the way they think it does. In my view, it didn't even work that way then. But whatever.

Anyway, how do you feel?

EDIT: sui66iy posted a link tothis article which is a good take on the situation.

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