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Kids and their smartphones. YOU GUYS.

/ Featured in Digital

Young boy with smartphone

I have a worry. Just one worry. Ready for it? Kids and their smartphones. What are we doing.

Now, I work in a field where my smartphone is pretty crucial to my organization and success. I use it everyday for email, keeping track of my calendar, phone calls, and testing/learning about the web through the small screen. But I was 21 years old when I got my first smartphone. Up until then, I managed just fine without¬†mobile Internet access. My thought process was, “I don’t need to check my email on my phone. I can go home and do that on my laptop.” Oh how things have changed.

The other day I got a haircut. This is something I do from time to time. It’s prom season for the high schoolers, so on this day, there¬†were lots¬†of teenage girls also at the salon getting fancy up-dos and fantastic face paintings (makeup) done.

I noticed one girl getting her hair done, and her faced was glued to her phone the entire time. Neck pointed down, thumbs tapping away like fire. First of all, how is that helpful for the stylist trying to fancy up her hair? COME ON, SHELLY.

Sorry, this is not about the hair.

But this was ridiculous. It’s out of the habit stage of checking your phone, to being a full-blown obsession to stay connected AT ALL COSTS.

Why are kids getting smartphones at such young ages? What ever happened to using pay phones or calling from the front office of your school? Or how about, just having good communication with your parents, and leaving the need to check in out the door?

The term “App Generation” comes from a book written by¬†Howard Gardner and Katie Davis:¬†The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World. While I haven’t read the book, I got the details from a Huff Post article explaining the main issue at hand: Are smartphones hurting our kids?

We use apps to solve many of our problems, such as getting directions to the new restaurant we’re meeting our friends at for lunch. Kids are adept at using smartphones to solve these problems, but when it comes to real life, they’re¬†behind at defining or solving problems for themselves.

What’s at risk here is building relationships, and not using your phones’ camera as your primary method¬†of eye contact.

I fall guilty to the ease of texting and snapchatting, too. I love the convenience that these modes of communication offer. So even¬†I must make time to grab someone’s face, hold it two inches from my¬†own, and make plans for lunch. (Kidding, ¬†I would want a solid three inches of separation.)

My goal is to not get suckered into gifting my future kids with smartphones too soon. That’s quite a ways down the road, so I can’t say what the norm will be at that time. But for now, if you are a parent, could you just relax for a sec?

Image courtesy techmortal.com