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Teenagers and cell phones! Are teen's addictions to cell phones making them unsociable or social!
How much does teenagers use their cell phones these days and how much are they connected online during a day by their phones! To much time if you ask me! But for the younger generations it is absolutely normal and also necessary! And the questions that arise in my mind are: Is this a new way to be more social or, do the technology really make them unsocial? And how will this constant connection affect them?
My daughter who is fifteen years old has an android cell-phone which means that she is constantly connected to Internet and of course Face Book. To be around her means that you have to listen to constant "beeps" and sounds from the cell when all her 1000 friends update their status. It makes me really stressed. But that is me! For her, this is vital and necessary! She does not need constant updates from 1000 friends but the updates from her close friends are very important to her.
Most teenagers in my daughter’s age use the cell-phone as a constant companion! It is like the cell-phone has become an extension to their body. Whenever I see my daughter I see her cell-phone! It is sort of glued to her: she sleeps with her cell-phone on the pillow, she eats with her cell-phone near by, either in her bra or in a pocket, she brings the cell phone to the bathroom, have it visible when taking a shower, and the other day I was stunned to see that the cell-phone was in fact in her hand under her dinner plate and over a soup pan when she served herself some hot soup!
But that is my point of view, for me to be so close to my cell phone all the time would be a horror! But what about the generation who has grown up with Internet and cell-phones? For them it is the opposite! They get stressed when they are disconnected! They can’t imagine a reality where they can’t be reachable on all hours. And most of them haven’t experienced a life without the cell-phone. To be offline or don’t have a cell-phone is like they are totally isolated or dead. They can’t communicate and are not updated on the latest news which is the same as being nobody. And when they get online after a longer disconnect they are so stressed out, because they have so much catching up to do!
So, how is this affecting the new generation which has been born with the possibility to stay connected to Internet all the time? I see them as guinea pigs! Because nobody knows how this will affect humans in the long run. There is no research done yet on long term side affects on humans who are constant reachable and connected to others. When I try to talk about it with my daughter she says; everybody is online all the time! My answer to that usually is; that everybody is online all the time doesn’t mean it is healthy or good for you! When I grew up, it was totally accepted to smoke, everybody did smoke, and now look how healthy that was! You can imagine how a remark like that is received by a teenager! (Stone age ideas!)
Take a lock at a group of teenager when they socialize or sit in a group in a cafe or when they wait for a train. Every one of them has constant supervision on their cell-phone. If they don’t read from the screen or texting, they play with the cell, swing and turn it around, open and close the lid and they do this while they communicate with the ones that are present in reality! Amazing capacity! And nobody seems to be annoyed over the fact that the others are paying attention to their cell phones instead of being totally present.
Sometimes I wonder if there is any time at all when they turn their cell phone off and are totally present in reality. There seems to be no codes amongst teens about when the cell isn’t wanted or when it isn’t OK to use it. At least there seems to be no such codes for teenagers 12-15 years old. During school time the phones are not allowed but that rule is set by adults, not teenagers. I think it comes with age since that was the case with my husband’s older children.
Young people talk about cell-phones as devices. The phone isn’t only for communication, it is also a clock, a music player, a camera, Internet, and it is a great and vital part of their life!
There are two questions that arise from the new way of using cell-phones! And there isn’t possible to answer none of them yet because there isn’t any long term research done in this field.
1. The first is the issue of stress from this constant connection to other people, and lack of privacy.
2. And then there is the question whether this new way of being online is going to make them more present in the virtual world at the expense at the real world?
A study from Gothenburg University states that research points in two directions. One is that human in our new technical society will create a new kind of humans “the new nomads” who will use the cell-phone as a nomadic object, like a “moving force” that makes people more mobile. This new technology will encourage people to be more mobile and spend more time outside their homes. The study describe teenager as the new urban nomads that once again conquer the public rooms, theatres, cinemas, operas and so on, and they can do that by bringing their phone with them.
Another hypothesis is that the development has made a more stationary society and those who believe this draw similarity from the research that was done of people’s habits of watching TV. That research states that we became more stationary than before TV came and that people that spend much time in front of the TV spends very little time in the public rooms or out of their homes. To spend much time online would meen that less time is spent in the real world. This hypotesis suggest that we maybe will be satisfied with the virtual world and stay at home.
Are you worried about the long term effects from how teens use cell phones?
Do you think cell phones make teens more social or unsocialble?
My personal opinion and conclusion!
My personal opinion is that teenager is much more social with the aid of their cell phones than older generations. No one under the age of 25 years knows what a telephone-table is! But I remember them clearly! It was the table where the stationary phone stood and a spot where I spent many hours. And I also remember those many hours and days when I was forced to stay at home because I waited for that special person to call! When the phone finally rang I leaped towards the phone in a hurry, trying to reach it before my parents answered! You see, I had a strange idea that it would have been so embarrassing for both parts, the boy that rang would then understand that I had parents??? and my parents would understand that I had a boyfriend???. Both very embarrassing and unwanted! (How does the brain work during those teenage years?)
But now they don’t even have to think that way, they can happily decide to be available instead of decide to be on fixed dates and locations. The mobile phone allows them to make appointments without them being tied to a place which gives them more flexibility and makes it easier to meet face to face.
My conclusion is that teenager’s addiction to cell-phones makes them both more social and unsocial. The new technology has changed the way they connect with people compared to former generations. They are more social and can be mobile but this also forced them to be multitasking which makes them fragmented and not totally present which makes them unsociable.
My big concern is what this constant online connection, and the stress that comes with it, will do to their minds and to their brains in the long run. And since they are always reachable they will not be able to enjoy solitude and silence like earlier generations have been able to do. Nowadays it is hard to find silent places and places where you are totally shield from society. If you bring your cell phone to those rare silent places, in the woods or at sea, you will not be able to experience that special feeling of solitude and total silence from the daily noise that constantly surrounds us. No one knows how this use affects humans. We will just wait and see.