The Primal Behavior Link Between Teens and Cell Phones

NJ-studentSo, we know that cell phones are important to our teenagers.  But did you know that the addiction to the device will entice primal behavior when they are separated from it?  Like animals that are bewildered and frighten, teens have been known to become aggressive and even predatory when their cell phones are lost, stolen, or taken by an adult.  A few weeks ago my daughter’s cell phone was stolen off a school activity bus during a basketball game.  Actually, all of the cheerleaders’ cell phones were stolen off the activity bus by the other rival team as some sort of payback.  I was upset, but my daughter acted like someone had shaved her head bald while she was sleeping.  Maniacal is the best literate term I can come up with to describe her behavior, however, if wanted to break it down point blank…she went straight fool.  All of the girls did. There was police presence at the game so the response by authorities was immediate.  But they had no idea what there up against.  15 hormonal teenage girls who had just had their entire “lives” stolen from them.  I watched in sheer horror and awe for nearly 8 minutes at the chaos surrounding me.  The tears, the screaming, the parents trying to hold the girls back from perusing physical altercations.  And the poor police officers.  With a stern voice and few profanities, I managed to get my daughter under control, well somewhat.  She spent the rest of night vocalizing how she’d been “disrespected” and how her phone was the most important thing in her existence and now her life was ruined.  (Big F-ing Eye Roll)
When I came across the video I’m sharing with you guys today (click the picture for video link) I immediately was taken back to that day.  Although I could spot the difference in the male/female reaction I also noticed one common denominator in the behavior’s trigger.  The cell phone.  I’m not saying that teachers shouldn’t take kids cell phones, but teacher, be wary when you do.  It’s like taking a steak from between the jaws of a lion.  Yes, he might walk away, stranger things have happened, but don’t expect it.  On the other hand, while teachers should expect mental breakdowns when separating a teen from their phones, they shouldn’t have to endure violence.  My suggestion?  Teach our kids that when they get out of pocket (out of control) not to expect the other party not to stoop to their level.  In this video you can see that this teacher is a kind and gentle man, completely unprepared for the childish creature attacking him.  So what really bothers me about this video is none of the other kids came to his defense.  They could see that it wasn’t a fair fight, but you also see these children in the video get up and walk away saying, “I’m not getting in that.”  Where is their sense of civic duty?  Where did we miss the mark in teaching our children how to be good honest upstanding citizens and step in when they see that something is not justified?  Are we sending our children out into the world with the message, “It’s none of your business, keep moving.”?  It looks like it.  And that’s sad.

Now to end this post with a look on the upside of the issue.  We do have teachers who are fighting back.

brawl18n-3-webIn this video (click the picture for video link), the teacher, after being under fire from the student for quite some time while waiting for help to arrive, opens a can whoop ass on her attacker.  And while some are saying that the teacher was out of place, which she was, I feel that her reaction was appropriate for the situation.  Give this teacher a raise and let her go back to work.  Many of the kids today have no fear of consequences because as parents we are not consistent with applying consequences at home.  In such cases, you see incidents like these where students have gone beyond disrespect for their teachers and authority figures.  That feeling of being invincible has always been a complex of the adolescent mind, but has increased in complexity and recurrence because they honestly believe that the result of their ill behavior will be nothing.  As parents, when we want to discipline our kids and our first thought is to take their cell phones, we stop ourselves because then, how would monitor and keep up with them?  After all, isn’t that we got them a cell for?  Can we really help that the cell phone came with all these gadgets that many of us don’t understand or know how to use, keep our teens nearly surgically connected to the device.  The answer is, yes, we can.  It’s called parental control.  Stop fearing that your kid is going to be kidnapped or stranded because you took their cell phone.  Come up with alternative methods of contact for when you do have to take their toy.  A prepaid Trac Phone comes to mind.  Parents, stop being afraid to discipline your children because the cops aren’t.  And if you do it, then they will.

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3 Responses to The Primal Behavior Link Between Teens and Cell Phones

  1. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

    I would never take my daughters’ cell phones unless it was a consequence of using too many minutes or racking up charges. To do that would be disrespectful, punitive and would not teach anything. Other reasons I might confiscate the cell phone would be: Throwing the cell phone in anger, if the cell phone was not taken care of, used to send improper images of herself or others and so on.

    It can help for parents to set guidelines and rules for a cell phone before they even give it to the child. My husband and I told the girls that we owned the cell phones and were allowing them to use them as long as they followed the rules. Check out these two variations:

    “Here is your cell phone, have fun and take care of it.”

    “Here, I am allowing you to use my cell phone as long as you follow the rules.”

    My girls are 28 and 33 this year and they are out on their own. They appreciate their phones, take care of them and never abuse the minutes. It’s all in how you present it to the child.

    • raisinemreal says:

      That is a great plan Jackie. But how do you punish a child who has been violent with his teacher over the confiscation of his cell phone for improper use during school hours?

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        I do not punish, I teach. If a child is using your cell phone improperly at school or anywhere else then you take it and lock it up for three ( or five) days. You remind the child that it was their misuse of the cell phone that caused them to lose it. That teaches him that behavior has consequences. The child will understand that even if they are not happy about it. If it continues then parents can keep it for longer periods of time. If a child is violent with a teacher then they must face the consequences from the school that may include assault charges or expulsion.

        Punishment is never the way to go.

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