Cell phones are becoming to today’s youth what rock and roll was to youth in the 1960s. Approximately 80% of all teenagers have cell phones worldwide and have developed their own. language and social groups away from the prying eyes of their parents.
In Japan, teenagers are obsessed with their cell phones. Some experts estimate that 96% of all Japanese children will have cell phones when they reach high school. A study shows that these children spent between 90 and 125 minutes every day on their phones, using them to read books, chat with friends, surf the web or listen to music. Many experts suggest that these young people are using these cell phones for safety, as the amount of use increased with children having problems at home.
American children have been using cell phones to form friendships and social groups away from their families, feeling that these phones assured them a privacy they would not otherwise have. While some children still talk to their parents, many more prefer to communicate with them through text messages so that children don’t have to answer questions they don’t want to. This also creates the problem of children misinterpreting their parents’ moods because plain text messages do not show the difference between sarcasm and anger. As cell phone use becomes even more widespread (some experts estimate that by 2010, 81% of Americans between the ages of 5 and 24 will own a cell phone), parent-child communication may become even more impersonal.
Another problem with today’s kids who are obsessed with cell phones is the fact that some kids admit to texting while driving. While some states have banned talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel, it can be interesting to see how the government handles texting while driving. After all, the driver can keep the phone out of sight while texting.
A serious problem related to youth and cell phones came to light in a survey of college students. Out of 305 of these students, 40% of cell phone users admitted that they walked somewhere after dark that they would never have gone before having their cell phones. ¾ of these students admitted that they felt more secure thanks to these devices. In reality, experts agree that these students are more vulnerable because they are less likely to pay attention to their surroundings, as many of these cell phone users also admitted to walking in front of traffic while talking.
Other countries are also reporting other serious problems related to youth and cell phone use. In Japan, young women had visited a dating site and several had had unwanted sex with the men who contacted them. In Britain, some children reported being bullied for their cell phones.
As more young people have access to mobile phones, they may have to learn that, as with everything in life, there is a price to pay. Hopefully, for some of these kids, the price isn’t too high.