Cell Phones: How Young Is Too Young?

by Maverick Lydon Shay
Class of 2015

“You know when I was your age, we didn’t have all this technology.”

I am sure everyone has heard this phrase at least once in their lives; it seems to be a common remark among our older generation. Every time we hear this we turn on our selective hearing, smile as though we are listening and resume our rightful positions as ‘screenagers.’ We often brush off the technology comments and let the older generation reminisce about paper books, snail mail, and plasma TV’s. In this new age of technology we, on the other hand, are looking to the future. What will Apple come up with next? It is simply the new normal, the new world we live in.

I had the same outlook on technology—that is until I watched my twelve year old brother open the box of a brand new iPhone 6 for Christmas. This same experience happened for many of the seniors in high school this year; the day when we, too, felt ‘old.’

It is sad to say that the younger generations will probably never know what it feels like to upgrade from a flip phone, to a sliding key board, or have the excitement of picking out a phone like the Motorola Razr or the Samsung Juke. Their options now consist of the latest type of iPhone. Although I am thankful to have lived through the last few years of the cell phone assortment, it still feels as though a piece of my childhood is being stripped away every time an iPhone is added to the large-enough number sold worldwide. In January 2008 it was 3.7 million and as of March 2015, 700 million. This change is probably due to children, like my brother, receiving iPhones as a stocking stuffer. Gone are the days of Barbie dolls and Nerf guns. Now all the fun is conveniently located within the parameters of 2×5 inch screen.

The question is then raised: how young is too young? Understandably, children who are involved in after school activities, recreational sports, or just hanging out with friends need a way to contact their parents. Nowadays parents find comfort in knowing that their kids are easy to reach. However, we often forget that for years, decades, even centuries parents found ways to contact their kids without the luxury of a cell phone.

There may not be a “perfect” age for a child to get their first cell phone, however it is important in this new age of technology to remember that a phone is a privilege, a responsibility—not an entitlement.

Maverick Lydon Shay is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition