April 22, 2001 10:18 PM   Subscribe

"U R STINKY"? From one of those surveys: "14% of the seven to 16-year-olds interviewed had received a bullying, deliberately hurtful call or text message on their mobile phone." Beyond the observation that bullies are nothing if not creative, why the hell do these kids need the bloody things?
posted by holgate (14 comments total)
Adolescence is all about practicing and perfecting your socialization skills. SMS is a godsend to these kids!
posted by aaron at 10:44 PM on April 22, 2001

students at the recent school shootings in san diego called 911, radio stations, and their parents with cell phones from within the schools. I'm sure a few parents invested in cell phones for their teens after that.
posted by register at 10:51 PM on April 22, 2001

does a 7-year-old need a cell phone?

"A 6-year-old girl was shot to death by a 7-year-old classmate..."

shootings are still uncommon, though. I wouldn't buy my seven-year-old a cell phone.
posted by register at 11:37 PM on April 22, 2001

> there's now a telephone in every classroom.

What ever for?

I am amused when luxuries and toys become perceived as necessities.

I understand why certain machines have moved from perceived luxury to perceived necessity -- no, you don't really need washing machines, but they save families hours of hard manual work. I once just a few months washing clothes by hand and that was enough for me.

But why so many phones? A phone in every classroom? That's considered reasonable in the US? For what? To send out for more bullets?

> Adolescence is all about practicing and perfecting
> your socialization skills. SMS is a godsend to these kids!

Oh, yes. Otherwise, the poor things might have had to learn such skills by talking to one another.
posted by pracowity at 12:24 AM on April 23, 2001

But it remains true that shootings - even in the States - are very rare (am I wrong - what %age of schools have had people shot?). And since when does saving a few minutes when someone has broken a leg make any difference?

The original comment was about the progression from luxury to perceived necessity. Seems like a reasonable comment to me. The "snide comment" and "touchy response" just seem to show that, indeed, one person sees a necessity and the other a luxury (and frankly, it's pretty much guaranteed to be one way isn't it? I can't imagine many situations where a US citizen is going to consider something a luxury that a non-US person would rate as a necessity. Apart from universal health care, I guess).
posted by andrew cooke at 1:26 AM on April 23, 2001

I think one of the reasons why Brits regard telephones as luxuries is that we have to pay for local calls. I'm pretty sure that anyone in their twenties spent most of their childhood being asked "do you really need to call X?" and told to "hurry up, do you know how much that costs?" (At least, that was my experience.)

So to go from "just five minutes" to kids with mobiles in the space of a generation is quite staggering.
posted by holgate at 2:59 AM on April 23, 2001

And since when does saving a few minutes when someone has broken a leg make any difference?

Well, when you're writing in pain on the ground with some kind of injury, we'll let you wait a few extra minutes and you can tell us how much of a difference it makes. How's that sound?
posted by kindall at 4:53 AM on April 23, 2001

Pracowitiy: one of America's very wealthy "robber barons" once said famously that the secret of becoming wealthy is to find a luxury and turn it into a necessity.

Kids have phones. Many parents feel safer because they know their kids can instantly phone for help, on a date, from a car, etc

Kids have phones. Kids imitate (or get socialized) by following trends among peers and adults.

Kids are very groupy and always seem to be in touch with other kids. When they get old and surly like me, they become scornful of groups and crowds and prefer aloneness, peacefulness, quite.

The circle of life, as Mr. Disney and his minions put it.
posted by Postroad at 4:53 AM on April 23, 2001

> Well, when you're writ[h]ing in pain on the ground with
> some kind of injury, we'll let you wait a few extra
> minutes and you can tell us how much of a difference it
> makes. How's that sound?

Can I watch?

No. I'm with Andrew on this one. The broken leg line isn't very convincing. In all my years in a school system with about 400 students per grade, I don't recall one incident that couldn't be safely taken care of by walking the kid down to the nurse. Maybe once, some kid was taken away in an ambulance. And we had handy intercoms on the wall for calling the office, listening to school propaganda, and coordinating the recitation of nationalist chants.

If there's an intercom on the wall, the kid's a couple of seconds from a call for help. Anyway, the damned kid who was stupid enough to break his leg while studying history would probably be ready with a cell phone. So would a dozen other kids in the classroom. And if there's a killer in the room (carrying another stupid gadget being marketed as a necessity), it's not going to make much difference whether the room has a stationary phone or an intercom.

I do wish these kids were surrounded by fewer gadgets and more books. Are there a few shelves full of interesting books in each classroom?
posted by pracowity at 6:20 AM on April 23, 2001

We had phones in my highschool, with much the same system CrayDrygu described.

Note that I graduated highschool in 1995, which means they were installed in 1992, in the second half of my grade 9 year.

They were never used because the school was shot up. I never saw them being used because of an emergency. I did, however, see them being used to call students down to the office. I saw them being used by my one teacher when his mother had a heart attack. I used them to get in touch with other students in the school after regular hours while working backstage on the play.

Necessity? Fuck no, no one's arguing they are. Convenient? Damn straight. Time-savers? You betcha.

Imagine, for a second, that you didn't have a phone at your desk. I actually just got a line installed last week, after going without for 5 months (saving money and whatnot) and I can't tell you how many times in those 5 months that I considered getting myself a cell phone just so I could actually call people without going to the receptionist's desk and making a personal phone call just outside the presdent's office.

(and personal phone call means everything from "Hi, honey, I'm going to be 20 minutes late tonight, luvyabyebye" to "Hi, honey, I just got in. I was at the emergency room because of x, y and z." two situations which happened to me)

I don't have any good examples of professional phone calls I had to make, because I rarely have to make phone calls. I can tell you about trying to use various IMs and groupware to maintain the level of communication we'd had with phones (and failing miserably), but I've already gone on for more than long enough.

Phones are useful devices. Plain and simple. Some people find them more useful than others, certainly, but we all find them useful to one degree or another.

If you think that teens or 7-year olds having cell phones is a shock, wait until they spend all their time in the virtual reality chambers.

Always-on communication is here. It's been here for a while now, and rather than being shocked by every new iteration of it (today it's 7-year-olds with cell phones, tomorrow it will be 5-year-olds with wearable computers with full-fledge fat pipe streaming multimedia whizz bang shabalooboo doohickeys) I suggest you get used to it.

Ever have a conversation with a 50-year old that says "Aw, these computers, and that Internet thing. I Just. Don't. Get it." Feel sorry for them? Guess what. It's you. Learn, adapt, adjust, don't stagnate now, because we're going to be around to see some awesome fucking shit, and you'll miss it if you're still agog at old news.
posted by cCranium at 11:03 AM on April 23, 2001

"wearable computers with full-fledge fat pipe streaming multimedia whizz bang shabalooboo doohickeys"

I'm going to get one of those as soon as the prices drop a little.
posted by jennyb at 11:08 AM on April 23, 2001

Yeah, me too. Tack a shabalooboo onto a product and BOOMPF! Markup an extra 80%. Rediculous, I tells ya.
posted by cCranium at 6:35 AM on April 24, 2001

our local paper just had the police complaining that kids shouldn't be allowed to have mobile phones. why? well, cos the bad eggs use their phones to warn each other that the police is coming. oh, and sometimes they use phones to agree meeting places to concoct wicked plans. therefore noone under 16 should have a mobile phone.

probably the police would prefer that everyone stayed at home and ditched all communications with each other. some of us use it for crimes, you know!
posted by jill at 7:18 AM on April 24, 2001

We managed to keep the population of this planet down to a sensible level until cellphones came along.

Nowadays, kids can call for help whenever they get into any crisis. How will we keep the population down? Raise speed limits around schools?
posted by wackybrit at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2001

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