In my lifetime, phone technology has gone from party lines to busy signals to long distance operators to area codes to princess phones to calling cards to answering machines to wireless phones to call waiting to voicemail to mobile phones to cells to texting to skype…and the advances are not ending any time soon. We have produced so many great telephonic ways to stay in touch that barely have time to communicate in person.
All of us know adults with "Crackberry" issues, those rude people who check their chats and peek at sports scores during meetings and in the movies. But according to a recent Neurotic Parent study, the highest percentage of Blackberry and I-Phone addicts are now college students.
Statistics reveal that text addictions begin in high school, but escalate the minute one arrives at college. Back in the day, when your parents drove off, you would celebrate your independence by lighting up a cigarette. Now, suddenly teens find themselves with nobody around to tell them to stop texting, so they send messages during meals, classes and parties…and some even sleep with their Blackberries so they can BBM during the night
I observed this out-of-control texting last week when I visited CJ. His new fraternity brothers were not ROTC-ish as I feared, and some actually looked as if they were on their way to MTV internships. They were exceedingly polite, good conversationalists and could discuss anything from neurolinguistics to Arizona immigration policies.
But even the smartest, funniest guys had more than their napkins in their laps. My son was one of these offenders. He already had a borderline addiction when he left for college; now he is so dependent on his handheld device that I fear he will not be able to resist as he drives around this summer.
The obvious remedy is to take away his Curve, but since that's the only way CJ communicates with us, that would be like cutting off our thumbs to spite our hands (poor metaphor attempt).
So instead, I have contacted Verizon, our provider, about offering a new Neurotic Parents' College Plan, which I hope will soon be available in our area:
- Limits "Contacts" to those over 45 years old
- Bans "Lost My Phone" messages on Facebook
- No connectivity in restaurants, classrooms, movie theaters or moving vehicles
- Keyboard locks after 2 am, except for texts to home
- Free satellite tracking and password change updates for account holders
So, readers, if you would like to sign up for this limited availability package, just sign the email petition I plan to send around. And, in the meantime, you can bore your kids with stories about the days when we actually had to memorize phone numbers.