Saturday, January 22, 2011

A world I don't fit into

Today my girlie has a friend over. It's an all-day, all-night playdate.  Fun.  They've scrapbooked and goofed around and now they're working on a Broadway-style production.   I love this girl and her family.

So I'm not annoyed as much as puzzled by this exchange with our young guest.

Eleanor:  Be careful!  Don't squish your cellphone!  (The girls were climbing in and out of a big shipping box and taking turns decorating it.  Yeah, they're 10 1/2 and 12 and still play in boxes.) 

Guest:  It's getting in the way!

Me:  Where is it?

Guest:  It's in my pocket!

Me:  Why don't you just put your phone with your other stuff?  You don't need it now.

Guest:  Well, my friends keep texting me to ask where I am.  And I have to text them back to say "I'm with a friend and can't talk now" but they text me back to ask what I'm doing and I text again to say "I can't talk now!"

Me:  Why don't you just stop answering them then?  You don't have to respond immediately.

She didn't answer this.  Not out of rudeness; she just didn't have anything to say.  And their game went on.

I don't get the impression that the phone and the texting was troublesome to Eleanor, who does not have her own cellphone and has never received a text in her life. (She has sent a few to her Dad, dictated by me while driving.)  I haven't had a chance to ask if it bothered her, and will probably forget about it by the time I do. It's not particularly troublesome to me, except:  here is this girl, not even a teen yet, who already feels the urgency of responding immediately to every text message from friends.  While, by the way, at the home of another friend.

Of course, it would seem rude to the texting friends if she didn't respond to them immediately.  Because they know she has the phone, and that she has constant access to it.  It's not as if she might be out of the house and away from the home phone.  She has the phone, she can answer the phone... so she must answer the phone.  

I know I'm getting old but I just don't want to be a part of that world.  And I don't want my kids to either.

But I don't guess I can stop it.

Do you ever ignore your cell phone?  Do your kids?  


Jen said...

I don't feel the need to immediately respond to every incoming call or text. Maybe I'm getting old, but it boggles my mind that it's considered rude to not drop everything to text someone back.

My kids don't have phones yet, so it's not an issue. The 13-year-old will be getting one soon, but she will be taught cell phone etiquette--like not texting one friend when you're with another. At her 13th birthday party, one of her guests didn't want to skate, so she sat down & pulled out her phone so she could go on Facebook. Luckily, one of the other kids called her on it before I did.

Anonymous said...

I ignore my cell phone when I am speaking to someone else or out with the children. I also ignore it when I'm in the checkout line because my brain cannot multi-task in that way! The only time I haven't ignored it is if it was my daughter's high school calling during school hours or when my brother was in the hospital; those types of things. I guess I use it as a means for me to contact someone not the other way around.

My 15 year old just got a cell phone and neither of my daughter's or I would text while we are out together talking, etc. They have a cousin who's been texting since she was 12 and the rudeness annoyed them, so this provided a teachable moment.

I think cell phone etiquette should be taught just like table manners and other social graces, etc.

Kim said...

Of course, cell phone etiquette must be taught. BUT, at that girls of that age, ever since there have been girls of that age, have required an extraordinary amount of social interaction. They practice practice practice. So they'll eventually learn, through practice and guidance how to multitask personal interaction with grace. By turning the phone off.

Anonymous said...

I would not fit into that world either. I think it was more rude of your daughter's friend to interrupt their playdate by texting other people. I frequently don't answer my phone. Yesterday I didn't answer my front doorbell because I knew it would be a salesperson.
My kids don't have cell phones. I may get my second one one at some point because she has type 1 diabetes and might have to communicate with me about her blood sugar numbers but I would limit her use to phoning me and her dad.

Jeanette said...

I just had the same convo with myself recently! I recently met a friend and her 11 year old daughter in the grocery store. The daughter was texting away on the phone the whole time. When her mom prompted her to 'say hi' to me, she just looked up, grunted hello, and went back to her phone.

My kids will get phones when they have a job and can pay for them. They don't need them now.

Birdie said...

I have a cell phone that I use for emergencies and largely ignore the rest of the time. My children sometimes take it with them when they go out (again, for emergencies), but not one of them, not even my 19yo has his/her own cell phone. We just haven't seen where the need would outweigh the potential dangers (like the temptation to mess with it while driving) or the rudeness to friends and family.

~*~The Family~*~ said...

I don't ignore my cell phone because only my husband or mother in law call on it, or if the kids go somewhere they take a phone with them. We have two phones as a family. Because these are the only people who call I or the kids always answer. We do ignore our home phone.