We’ve all heard the stories about kids today and their addiction to cellphones, and how it’s not like it was when we were kids — as if something else is like it was. But cellphones and games come in for special abuse, and I have to admit, I have jumped on the “Woe is me, cellphones (or computer games or piercings or tattoos or whatever) will be the ruin of us all” bandwagon many, many times.
So I was impressed to hear from a friend about a young teenage girl who went to a party and decided that she was missing too much of her life by being on her cell all the time. So she turned off her phone, put it in her coat pocket and threw it on the bed with all the other coats.
She had a wonderful time, caught up with all her friends without ever once looking at her Facebook account, talked to everyone without using Twitter, and looked at her friends’ faces in real life, not in selfies. She ate hors d’ouevres and even danced a little. Not once did she think that she was missing anything; she didn’t have any fancy new psychological problems like “SIWS” (Sudden Internet Withdrawal Syndrome) or “IRP” (Instagram Regret Pattern).
She didn’t feel like Snapchatting anyone; she liked hearing music without earbuds; she enjoyed talking to her friends without having to see them through a computer camera. She even enjoyed dressing up, something you don’t really have to do when you’re texting, because who’s going to see you?
When it was time to leave, she grabbed her coat and drove home. She didn’t even remember to fish her phone out of her pocket; she was just thinking of what a good time she’d had. It didn’t occur to her that leaving her phone in her pocket might have been the reason she’d had so much fun, and maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference, who knows? She simply felt warm and happy and at peace with the world. Until she walked in her front door.