Francisco does not think he has a problem. But, denial, of course, is the first step in the moving-on process.
The thing is, Francisco sends or receives approximately 500 text messages a day. That’s 15,000 per month, 180,000 per year. And the Kaiser Family Foundation believes this is normal (worrying, but normal). Their recent study found that kids ages 8-18 spend more than 7.5 hours per day on their smart phones (this figure does not even include time spent texting. How much time would it take to send 500 texts in one day? Do you think Francisco has enough time to do this and to preform basic bodily functions like breathing?).
Let’s introduce another character here, because in this type of story, the more stimuli the better. You could also play a game, listen to music, and watch a video on your phone while you read this, if you’d like. Our second subject is Trey Calinan, 9, of Kensington, MD. Trey was reared on a steady diet of Baby Einstein, “math and science” DVDs, and Dora the Explorer. His mother, Kim, says that because of his cornucopia of electronic toys, Trey learned to read and do math at very young age. Good for little Trey! But Trey has grown into a video game enthusiast. And by enthusiast I mean he doesn’t really socialize enough with human kids anymore, and just wants to play his awesome video games. Recently, his mom was worried about his excessive gaming, so she cut back his allowed hours. So,
Last Wednesday, Trey came home and read a book — but said he was looking forward to the weekend, when he could play his favorite video game.
I’m not going to pretend like I don’t use technology. I don’t think technology is bad, I rather enjoy technology! I like iPods, iPhones, iVictrolas, and I don’t really understand Google Chrome, but I’m willing to assume it’s cool. Believe it or not, I’m using a computer right now. I’ve even listened to Ayo Technology once or twice (fun fact: original title, Ayo Pornography. Don’t tell Trey and Francisco, because that is dangerous information that I gathered from the internet, and they could too, on their little smart phones!)
But back to Francisco and Trey. Francisco really loves his precious phone. He uses it to text, to listen to music, to watch videos, and he says,
I feel like my days would be boring without it.
Francisco’s mom, Janet Sepulveda, tried to say that she bought her son the phone so that he would always have Internet access for his schoolwork. Really, mom?Here’s a thought: maybe Francisco should have to pay his own phone bill. And maybe Trey should have to buy his own games…anything to de-incentivize this overkill of electronics. Clearly, the parents helped create these underage technojunkies. And technology is great and all (it really is!), but this seems like an addiction. Trey and Francisco see nothing wrong with their excessive habits, but the Kaiser Family Foundations and parents of these kids and others like them are more than worried (or at least the latter certainly should be). What’s to happen, though? Do we need to get over the shock of 500 messages a day, realize omg this is how the future l00ks, ok gr8? Or should kids cut back? My vote is for option two, but I realize this is easier said than done. Training Francisco to live without the constant company of his Sidekick LX will be no easy task, but it must be doable, or else I am afraid for him and for others. There’s a big world out there, and it doesn’t just include a texting plan and the internet.