Cell Phones Suck
OK, fine, they don’t always suck. 1% of the time they have an emergency use. But, the other 99% of the time they are completely useless and a hindrance to proper parenting. Really, when was the last time you’ve ever seen someone make an emergency call on a cell phone? Parents use that excuse all the time; “I need a cell phone in case there is an emergency.” Really? “OK,” I say, “Then why do I see you talking on it with your friend, Nancy, when you should be watching your kids?” If people really carried cell phones for emergency purposes then they would all be on silent and I would never have to kick the back of someones chair in the movie theater. I also wouldn’t have had to prevent a three year old from running out the door of the community center two days ago because her stupid mom was chatting on the phone and not paying attention! Here are the top excuses for carrying a cell phone – and why they suck.
“I Need it for Emergencies”
This one, if actually true, would be a really good reason for carrying a phone. And I would simply leave it at that if it weren’t for the simple fact that people, unless they are exceptionally clumsy people, don’t have enough emergencies to justify the amount of wasteful attention they give to their phone above their children. I’d be willing to bet that more accidents are caused by cell phones than are resolved by them. Talking on the phone while driving absolutely drives me nuts. People actually get charged with negligent homicide these days for talking on the phone and causing an accident. Nothing is so important that it necessitates talking on the phone while operating a moving vehicle. Along those same lines is my example of the mother who missed her kid running out the door because she was talking on her phone. I have no evidence to support this, but I’ll bet that her little daughter would have been in considerably less peril with her mother off the phone. The super condensed history of the cell phone goes like this: The military used two way radios starting in the 40′s to communicate positions and need for support. Emergency? Yes. Then, in the 60′s and 70′s, cell phones were starting to be used in business so that deals could could get done and deadlines could be met. Emergency? No, but there were also no kids involved. Now, cell phones are used by parents everywhere to call home to check if they need to buy more chunky peanut butter at the market. Emergency? Um, no.
“I Bought my Kid a Phone so he can let me Know what’s Going on.”
When I was a kid I would have given anything for my parents to not know what I was doing. And parents, though worried, used to accept that when kids got old enough those kids became responsible for their own actions. These days there is a term that has crept into our vernacular. It’s the ubiquitous “helicopter parent”. This is the insufferable parent that doesn’t let their kid learn any lessons in life because they are always hovering around ready to bail their precious snowflake out of any bind. Cell phones only make this behavior that much easier. Let’s take the example of climbing a tree as proof that kids need experience to survive in life. Kids like to climb trees, but these days there are many parents who don’t let them because they might get hurt. Yeah, that’s true. They might even kill themselves. The danger of not letting kids climb trees though is that those kids will grow up with no coordination and get run over by a bus because they have two left feet. Kids need freedom to make mistakes and potentially get seriously hurt. A cell phone in the hands of a kid is nothing more than an excuse to not learn. What happens when Johnny has a problem? He sits on the curb and whips out the phone rather than using his God given brain to bail himself out. Cell phones, trees, there really is a connection there.
I’ve taken two examples of the problems that cells phones create and stretched them to the extreme. More often than not cell phones are a handy tool. But, when put into the hands of careless or lazy people they become a menace. They stunt learning and make parents into idiotic zombies who don’t properly care for their kids. Being a parent is a full-time job. It’s best not to artificially interrupt that job with something as trivial and unimportant as a cell phone. Call me during the day and unless my wife is watching the kids at that moment I will not pick up the phone. Hell, I probably am not even carrying my phone. It’s not because I don’t have friends (although that might be more true for me than for you). It’s because it’s just not that important. Answering machines should be my next post. “The Wonderful and Spectacular Invention of the Answering Machine.”