“I’m waiting to be interrupted right now,” says a teenager during an interview about cell phone interruptions in their daily lives. We are constantly in a state of wanting be distracted by our smartphones whether it be a text or new email. We look forward to that small escape from reality as we delve deeper into our online lives. In growing up tethered, author Sherry Turkle explores how we are truly never alone with technology by our side. This constant connection to technology can be beneficial in moments when you really need it like when your car breaks down, you are lost, or you just need help. However this perpetual need to have instant contact can be detrimental to one’s own well being.
Growing up, teenagers must balance work, school, family, friends, and now an online social life. Their need for acceptance now must be met in person and online. When Julia, a sixteen year old, is upset she relies on texting her friends for an instant stress relief. “..I wait, like, depending on what it is, I wait like an hour if they don’t answer me, and I’ll text them again. ‘Are you mad?’ Are you there?’ Is everything okay?'” If no one answers Julia in a blink of an eye she will move onto a new friend. This rapid validation a teenager requires to function in life maintains an unhealthy obsession. If a friend won’t answer your calls for help, then who will?
Here is a riddle for you: A teenager will answer texts and calls all day, but who are the callers that make them say no way? ….I’ll give you a hint they are most likely the people that bought the smartphone in the first place. So who exactly are these people that make teens cringe? Their parents of course! Parents view the phones a way to reach their teen while they are out and about. But many teens ignore the calls from mom and dad.
My mother makes me take my phone, but I never answer it when my parents call, and they get mad at me. I don’t feel that I should have to. Cell phones are recent. In the last ten years, everyone started getting them. Before, you couldn’t just call someone whenever. I don’t see why I have to answer my phone when my mom calls me. My older sisters didn’t have to do that.- Harlan, high school student
This attitude is common for many teenagers who wish to find independence at an early age. While they do have a smartphone in hand they rely on their peers for comfort. Feeling that parents will only hinder their newfound freedom many decide to ignore the calls from worried caregivers.
In a world that is always updating it may be hard for a tech obsessed teen to put down the phone and plug into real life. My advice: put the phone down, go outside, and please call your parents back!