Sofia is a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA. She loves the beach, shopping, and enjoys studying psychology because she would like to become a psychologist when she is older.
Ah, the cell phones; the life-line, SOS, and pure entertainment of the new generation. It’s completely ordinary to walk into a classroom and see students staring straight at the whiteboard, while their fingers are moving a mile a minute underneath their desks, desperately trying to arrange plans for Friday night. Even family events and outings have been destroyed by teens attempting to hold multiple conversations with their friends via text.
Though it may seem a necessary way to the majority of teens, cell phones are not required to be present in every activity. Parents and teens, here are some tips for you on how to detach yourself, temporarily, from cell phones and participate more with the family.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Set it Down Once in a While
Teens, there is nothing wrong with taking a breather and letting your phone cool down awhile. If wherever you go you have your cell phone in your hand, you haven’t looked up in three hours because you’re so engrossed in whatever you’re working on, chances are you are going to look pretty obnoxious and boring to those around you. There is nothing wrong with checking your phone every once in a while and responding to the occasional text, but when around others, socializing is key. Sooner or later you will be known as the one who is attached to their phone 24/7 and people will just stop inviting you places. So, set the phone down and go have a nice conversation with the people around you.
2) Don’t Force It
Parents, yes I know it is annoying, your kids have permanently glued themselves to their phones and they have no desire to participate in any human contact whatsoever. Having said that, threatening to take or even taking their phone away may backfire and have worse consequences. From personal experience with my own parents and seeing my friends react to their parents, nothing good can come out of trying to be forceful. Try to understand that the cell phone (text messaging to be more specific) is the main communication of the new generation; taking this away will only cause your child to become even more antisocial. Here’s how it will go: “That’s it I’m taking your phone away!” “Fine. Whatever.” And that’s all you will hear from your child for the rest of the night. Since the kids have their “pride and joy” taken away, they’ll be reluctant to hold any conversation with anyone let alone you, the parent, for the rest of the day, or for the duration of the cell phone being taken away.
3) Try to Compromise
Instead of having World War Three over a cell phone, try negotiating a compromise. Teens, as said before, try easing up on the cell phone usage. Not only will it make your parents happy, but it will also allow you to branch out instead of feeling obligated to answer every call or text message immediately. Parents, try to allow some time for your kids to be kids and use their cell phones during some events that you drag them to. If you think about it, how much fun are your kids going to have at their great aunt’s 90th birthday party? Having said that, there is no problem with setting some limits: don’t be constantly texting, lift up your head for some air once in a while and hold some meaningful conversations with those around you, if you are at a big event (especially if it is with a bunch of your family members).
4) Don’t Let Your Emotions Play Out Through a Text
Even though it’s cliché: “He broke up with me through text message!”, it happens every single day. We live in a world where, unfortunately, relationships are started and ended through text messages. It’s as if the world doesn’t even need facial expressions or the actual words leaving the person’s mouth. A girl at my school was asked to homecoming via text, it read: “You wanna go with me?” How romantic right? Wrong. What happened to the guy getting choked up while asking his dream girl to the big dance, and then his sigh of relief when she said yes? Teens, trust me, when you are older you will want a memory of your crush asking you to homecoming rather than remembering a text that you received that you will not be able to save. When taking big steps in life, the best experiences you will have will be with direct contact with others. Save the small conversations for texting and even phone calls and the more important things with face to face confrontations.
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