Face-Time versus Face-to-Face

My kids received their first flip phones in middle school. Other than the fact that Son destroyed his first two Razers because he forgot to check the pockets before throwing his shorts in the laundry basket, I didn’t foresee a downside to giving the kids phones at such a young age. As the years have passed, the flip-side to that first flip-phone has made itself apparent.

As cell phone features have advanced, it has become clear that people are using their devices in ways I never dreamed — sometimes in nightmare-ish ways. Specifically, the phone became a source of constant social connection (maybe too much) and entertainment — but also as a platform for the horrors of cyberbullying and docking, identity theft, and terrorist activities, among others.

Of course, SmartPhones have evolved in positive ways. Information on any topic is instantly available. Apps assist us with everything from driving directions and weather forecasts, to meditation and bill paying. But at what cost?

I never worried that college admissions officers, or later, potential employers, might check my social media and click “trash” because there were one too many photos posted where I’m holding a Red Solo Cup.

Nor did I fret about developing chronic muscle aches from gazing down at my palm an average of 47 times a day (82 times if you’re between 18 and 24 years old). Or becoming obese, because it seemed like more fun to exercise my thumbs on a touchscreen than to move the rest of my body.

For me, FaceTime meant connecting in person with another person, not at one remove a’la Jane Jetson. In my younger days, I could memorize hundreds of phone numbers, interesting minutiae, and facts in history class because I had to. Now kids don’t bother:  “If I ever need to know I can just look it up.”

The truth is, it’s up to each of us to use our phones for forces of Good, not Evil. No need to haul your butt out of the chair to delve more deeply into this topic. Just click the link below and you’re “virtually” there.

Teens & Screens: Are SmartPhones Making Us Dumber?
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Valerie Zaffos
Though she now checks the 4th box on forms requesting her age range, Val still has lots to learn. With degrees in journalism and psychology, Val analyzes everything — most of all her own flaws & foibles. Then she writes about it so that others who identify with her tragedies & triumphs might learn by osmosis. Val is a mental health counselor in Weston, FL, which provides ample opportunity to analyze and guide motivated clients, instead of therapizing family and friends who aren’t asking for it. Read her Psychobabble blog at SelfEmpowermentCounselingFL.com.