By Abdirahman Mah
“Mom, can I please please please get my phone back?”
“Stop whining! You are acting like a five-year-old.”
These kind of conversations are common in any household with emerging teenagers. The parents usually sequestrate the gadgets from their kids. Instead, they should be solving these problems case by case. If a kid is severely obsessed with his/her gadget, then they should take harsher consequences. But if he/she is trying to have a break when they come back from school and play some Candy Crush then that should be permitted. Parents should differentiate a child playing on his gadget because he is just trying to have fun with a kid who has no other interests. Treating them the same would be unfair.
Furthermore, parents need to understand that phones aren’t just used to waste time and play games on. A recent survey by Pew Research stated that other than calling and texting, 60% of teenagers use their phones to play music. Of that 60 %, 34% of them said that they enjoy playing games on their phone1. This statistic proved to us that not every teenager using their phone is playing games on it. Parents need to understand that during this age, teens are more rapt with their social and educational life that they tend to focus less on phone games.
To add on to that, our parents might be lacking discernment. Although it’s true that our parents only want what’s best for us, over exaggeration, overprotectiveness, and overanalysis of little things are things they know too well. Generally speaking, the decisions they make for us are innocent but can be just as harmful. Trying to prove our mothers wrong in these situations is the worst because it never works. Parents shouldn’t let their misconceptions guide their decisions. Instead, they should be open to their kids living their teenage life and having fun because these days will eventually end. The dividing point between parents and teens is that the parents weren’t exposed to gadgets like these in their early days.
In contrast, some teenagers take their advantages for granted. In rural Ethiopia, young adult girls have to walk 4-5 miles a day just to get water3 . These girls are more focused on survival rather than entertainment. Plus, if teens were on top of their grades and weren’t slacking off, the parents would be appeased by this.
Parents, please understand that our kids aren’t kids no more. Instead of confiscating, we should be conversing about these topics.
- Lenhart, Amanda. “Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 18 Aug. 2009, www.pewinternet.org/2009/08/19/teens-and-mobile-phones-over-the-past-five-years-pew-internet-looks-back/.
- “First Television Broadcast from the Senate Chamber.” U.S. Senate: First Television Broadcast from the Senate Chamber, 14 Dec. 2017, www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/First_Television_Broadcast_from_the_Senate.htm.
- Stuteville, Sarah. “Walking for Water: An Exhausting Job That Never Ends.” OneWater.org, www.onewater.org/stories/story/walking_for_water_an_exhausting_job_that_never_ends.
Ponzi, Fabiana. “Parents Fighting While Teenager Daughter Is Playing with Cell Phone Slow Motion Closeup.” Shutterstock, 2017, www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-9700841-stock-footage-parents-fighting-while-teenager-daughter-is-playing-with-cell-phone-slow-motion-closeup.html.