Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cellphones and Teenagers.

Over at Joanne Jacobs, Sexting is Popular among teenagers:
More than a quarter: involved in sexting
One third sent or received explicit photos.
14 percent said they suspect the pictures were shared without permission
Seventeen percent of those who received naked pictures said they passed them along to someone else, often to more than just one person.
I'm not surprised. Cellphones (with their current abilities and prices) are so new that everyone has difficulty. Society hasn't set the rules yet. We're close, but it's gonna take time. It always takes time for society to figure itself out.

I recall going to an Everclear concert at a local club. They were playing loud and furious and an audience member held a camera high above his head to record the whole song. Everyone else was doing the same thing but this guy was close to the stage and the camera was right in front of Alex's face and the guy kept it aimed right at him. He stopped the song in the middle. "Dude, you're weirding me out."

We have the same situation in schools with texting during class and the constant NEED to have the phone on vibrate or "too high for teachers", the same situation with over-controlling boyfriends and their new way of keeping track, the same situation with impulsiveness and what the older group deems irresponsibility.

Give a kid unlimited candy and he will eat too much of it.
Give a kid unlimited hours in front of a tv, he will sit there and veg.
Give a kid a computer in his room and he'll spend all his time on it.
Give a kid unlimited use of a cellphone, he will misuse it.
The same with videogames.
The same with sports.
The same with books.
The same with sex.

The parents who give their kids unlimited and uncontrolled use of a toy unleash the limitless ability of the teenager to waste all his time with it and do something stupid or intelligent, wasteful or pretty cool, annoying, funny or thoughtless.

Adolescence is the time when controls are needed to establish boundaries and learn the appropriate use of everything. Limit choices.

Finally, a note to the parents of high-school students:
Please don't try to claim that the current cellphone with all of its bells and whistles is necessary - only the "call parents" option is necessary. Everything else on that phone will be misused.

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