Saturday, January 26, 2013

Teens and Telephones


When my daughter was a teenager, she spent considerable evening  hours
on the telephone (following completion of assigned homework). 
Because I was in a busy realty business and frequently receiving home calls from
my office and clients, I needed ready access to  my residential telephone. 
It was then, I discovered the benefit of “Call Waiting” which she respected...
failing which she'd find herself without telephone access for a period of time. 
How can a teenage girl “exist” without hourly contacts with friends???
This new technology was a boon to our situation.  She was allowed only until
10 pm to telephone out or receive calls on “school nights”.

Jump forward to today:  Our world in North America just cannot exist...
for teens and adults alike...without cell phones, i- pads, i-pods,
bluetooth and others...many with abilities to  tweet or text messages, take photos,
play music, etc. In many cases, these “tech devices” have become not only
obsessive…also addictive! They are carried constantly  and used at any place
and at all hours of the day. It is the NORM...whether in company of others or
while dining, shopping, during meetings or along the streets and in vehicles
~ often very disrespectful of other persons! seems...are the good manners instead...that should govern our lives!

Mom Goes Viral With Son's Phone Code of Conduct

This article was published recently in the daily Republican American
in Waterbury, Connecticut...(a newspaper member of the Associated Press).

NEW YORK ~ Janell Burley Hofman honored her 13-year-old son's “maturity and
growth” at Christmas with his first i-Phone but it came with strings attached.

Eighteen strings, to be exact, in a written code of conduct that placed the mommy
blogger at the center of the debate over how parents should handle technology
in the hands of their teens, especially younger ones just entering the frenetic world
of social networks and smart-phones.

Thousands of people, including those bemoaning too much helicopter parenting,
commented and shared the funny, heartfelt agreement posted at the holiday by the
Cape Cod, Mass., mom of five.  The interest crashed her website and led her to
appear with her eldest, Gregory, on morning TV.

She included caveats that some parenting and tech addiction experts consider
crucial in easing new entrants onto Facebook, Instagram and shiny new
mobile devices:  e.g.

You must avoid hurtful texts and porn and pay for a replacement if your phone
“falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground or vanishes into thin air.”
 Of the latter, Hofman advises her teen, “Mow a lawn, shovel some snow,
 stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.”

Hofman said in an interview that she decided on the contract as she pondered 
the power of the technology she and her husband were about to plop into 
their son's  world. She was looking for a way to be present in his phone use 
without being a “creeper” ( his word for stalking, spying parents).

She wasn't surprised that her list, which Greg agreed to, resonates with 
other parents. It also resonates with psychologist David Greenfield, 
a technology  addiction specialist in West Hartford, Connecticut.

“We have ritualized the gift of the smart phone,” he said, “yet many parents
 don't have the know-how, stomach, time or interest  in activity guiding kids 
when they first jump into digital life.  For some parents, it's only when things
 go horribly wrong thatattention is paid.”

He knows of parents who have gone so far as to jam all Internet and cellphone 
signals  at home when they couldn't get their kids to power down.   
Greenfield recommends contracts  like Hofman’s, if parents follow through.

Mom's Rules For The Phone
(edited for length)

          It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.
          Aren't I the greatest?

          I will always know the password.

         If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello,use your manners.  Don't ever
         ignore a call if the the screen says “Mom”  or “Dad”.  Not ever!

         Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 pm every school
         night, and at 9 pm every weekend night.  It will be shut off...and turned on
         again at 7:30 am. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, 
         wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to 
         those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

          It does not go to school with you .  Have a conversation with the people 
          you text  in person.  It's a life skill.

          ...You are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.

          Don't use this technology to lie, fool or deceive another human being.
          Don't involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others...

          Do not text, e-mail, or say anything through this device you wouldn't say
          in person.

          No porn.

          Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, 
          at the movies, or while speaking  with another human being.   
          You are not a rude person; do not allow the i Phone to change that.

          Don't send or receive pictures of your private parts, or anyone else's 
          private parts. Don't laugh.  Someday  you will be tempted to do this 
          despite...your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin  
          It is always a bad idea.

          Don't take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document
          everything. They will be stored  in your memory for eternity.

          Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in  your 
          decision. Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful 
          than FOMA ~Fear Of Missing Out!

          Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions 
          of your peers that listen to the exact same stuff.  Your generation has 
          access to music like never  before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.   
          Expand your horizons.

          Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

          Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you...

          You will mess up. I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk
          about it.  We will start over again.  You and I, are always learning.  
          I am on your team. We are in this together.

Following the reading of the foregoing, I was observant of all ages using these
modern pieces of unacceptable times.  From my viewing:

..a woman talking on hand-held phone while driving her Mercedes
...another woman talking on her CT while standing in grocery checkout line
(all people in front, behind and at counter hearing her “what seemed
unimportant conversation”)
...teenage boy talking on CT while riding his bike in traffic adult man answering his CT while in company of several persons...and walking
away from them without apology
...while viewing a movie in theatre, a person  nearby answering his CT
...three or four teen girls riding on a bus all texting & talking to friends on their cells
...hostess at home, answering telephone while sitting at dining table with guests

Words of Wisdom

In youth, the days are short and the years are long.
In old age, the years are short and the days are long.
(Nikia Panin)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written January 18, 2013
Comments are welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

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