Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cell phone kids

Age 49: Day 10

I went out with a bunch of my young colleagues tonight to send off an editor who is leaving magazines to get a masters in teaching. (Would have LOVED to have her as an English teacher growing up; she feeds me constant book recommendations and is always available to discuss writing and plot). Anyway, I took an informal poll of the 20-somethings at the table on how often they spoke to their parents by phone. The majority response? Every single day. My conclusion: It truly is a different experience to grow up now, in our cell phone culture. Parents are much more involved, kids are much more involved, every move is monitored or reported. And everyone seems pretty sanguine about it. On the surface, it doesn't seem like a bad thing--these young 'uns seem independent and capable and sophisticated. Is it just that we live in a world that demands constant recording of our every move? (I reflect on this as I blog about my every move. I am aware of that.)

When I was 23, all I wanted was  independence from my parents. What would happen if everyone under age 25 had to live without a cell phone for a month? Or a week? What would that feel like for them? Okay, I admit it, now I sound like a curmudgeon. And with that harrumphing attitude, I will to bed. (As Shakespeare would say--I think.)


  1. Back home from a fun night out and reading your blog... one big thank you for sending me off with such panache, and another for the sweet words here! We will definitely stay in touch to trade book recs! (And for the record, though I'm on my way out of my 20s, I'm firmly in the talk-to-Mom-once-a-week camp.) -LP

  2. I'm 46 and never talked to my parents daily once I left their house (at 21). We are close, and when I do talk to my mom we can have marathon sessions (not all the time, but now and then), but I can't imagine talking to her daily,or texting her (which she won't/can't do, though she does have a cellphone. I think she may use hers more than I use mine, which is usually out of juice somewhere in the bottom of my bag). But I see the nearly-grown kids of my sister who text her about EVERYTHING. "Mom: is rice fattening?" And what about those BU college kids last January, who texted their parents from a burning building BEFORE thinking to call 911? Yeah. There's a such thing as too connected, and a such thing as parents abetting it, big time.