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The Mobile Youth

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  • Posted October 23, 2012

    This is highly recommended

    This book looks at the ways that present-day young people use, and interact with, their cell phones. They are not used just for phone calls anymore.

    A teenage boy from China wanted an iPad and a cell phone so much that he felt compelled to sell one of his kidneys on the black market to get the money. He is now in the hospital, suffering from renal failure. He received a lot less than the going rate for his kidney. A young Amish man is returning to the community after rumspringa, but he does not want to give up his cell phone.

    In the slums of Rio de Janeiro, a couple of young boys and their cell phones are the only ones telling the world about a gun battle between the government and drug dealers. A majority of the world's youth sleep with their cell phones.

    A Venice Beach food truck has created quite a following by using Twitter each morning to give its lunchtime location for that day. Between 1996 and 2010, the number of American teens who smoke has gone down. It might have something to do with the explosion in cell phone usage among teens in that same period.

    As part of a study, young people all over the world were asked to go without their cell phones for 24 hours (they had to actually remove the battery). Some found it difficult, but bearable. Others described their feelings using words like dead, lonely, helpless and anxious. A teenge girl posted unpleasant comments about her family on Facebook. When her father found out, he recorded a seven-minute rant, which ended with the father putting two bullets in her laptop.

    Regular human contact has generally become a thing of the past. Children don't play outside anymore. Young people don't have anywhere to congregate, like the local movie theater. A group of people can be in a coffeeshop, all working on their laptops (together and alone at the same time). That is part of the reason for people's near obsession with technology. It is the closest they can get to human contact.

    If your teenager is spending "too much" time on their cell phone, maybe they are looking for some version of human contact. Reading this book may help explain what they are thinking, and feeling. It is highly recommended.

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