Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hell Phone

The Matron is certain she had "SUCKAH" written right on her pretty (okay, wrinkled) forehead when she walked into the Sprint shop last week, with three children in tow.

Why did she engage in such reckless behavior?

Recently, John and the Matron agreed to purchase a cell phone for Stryker. The Matron is all about the cell phone and teenagers. Go ahead and decry the next generation -- grown-ups have been doing it forever, all 'we didn't get a cell phone until we were thirty and there's no need.'

She gets it. And doesn't disagree. But she's going about the cell phone thing a little differently.

Teaching and being around teens in other settings has granted the Matron this great wisdom: It is what it is. Technology and children have a different relationship than they had even five years ago. Technology and teens? Even more intimate because there's more independence and voice.

How integrated are cell phones and iPods into the young life? The Matron recently agreed to help College XXX study how course materials could be loaded onto hand-held devices like iPods, cell phones and the venerable DSLite. The going educational theory is that hand-held devices will become an integral part of pedagogical approach. Sound like the distant future? Stryker has his algebra textbook loaded onto his iPod and that's how he does his homework.

Technology changes relationships and relationships form around technology. As in, "Hi friends the Matron has never met!" But you are friends, and she's happy to have you visit her, here, in this little space she created.

Teens' relationships form around texting, email, electronic game, video and the like. For a history project, Stryker and two buddies downloaded stuff from historical sites and made a documentary on the Civil War, with voice over, music and special effects. They got an A+ by the way (only if the Matron is going to be all generational and grumpy it's about the A+ and its staggering frequency. . . grrrr)

Cell phone? Stryker is already fully loaded with technological gear. He just wants an upgrade to the teenage years.

Whoops! As the Matron's posts sometimes do, this one took on a life of its own because she sees she is now giving a lecture. Let's turn off that mic (and you thought she actually planned these things out!)

Anyhoo -- the upbeat salesman took one look at that salivating 12 1/2 year old boy and the parent already intent upon making the purchase in the future --and that sharp upbeat young man focused in on THE most important part of that current picture: the five year old falling to the floor and weeping.


It took that long for the salesman to offer the Matron the deal that would make his commission -- phone with a half-price mail in rebate AND? By magic! He discovered some special discount that meant the phone would come without a monthly fee!!

Now the Matron has never ever given a child a Christmas present before Christmas --and that's what the phone was supposed to be.

Stryker caught the ball from the salesman and dribbled right up to that hoop.

"Mom? I'm in the science club! I built a laptop! I'm doing all my homework without being told! I'm getting straight As and A+s. I am proving myself the genius you desired in one of your children, thus fulfilling one of your dreams. You alone have the power to fulfill one of mine."

And he got on his knees. Now she had two children on the floor and Scarlett sagging suspiciously.

So she said yes. What the heck. Buddhists don't even celebrate Christmas.

But that phone?

She has never had so much maternal communication, dialogue, and dissect. Too much! Sure, she wants Bonding, Open Line Between Them and all that. But, Stryker?

You really don't have to have that much connection to your mother. Hang up!


witchypoo said...

It's a good thing I have a computer and know some stuff about it, because I never ever want a cell phone. Sadly, I have two landlines. Am I still a luddite?

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Aw. I really like that kid.

Anonymous said...

We made the mistake of not setting and enforcing the rule of:

1. The cell phone remains in the kitchen recharging at bedtime. No getting up to retrieve it during the night. Ever.

Mrs. G. said...

There is an article in the NYT about the significance of technology in the lives of teens and how it isn't ALL BAD.

I think it sort of validates adult blogging too. Right?

drawer queen said...

Ah, the cell phone dilemma. One of the best features especially with two girls away at two different colleges is they can call me whenever they want or need to. The worst feature is they can call me whenever they need or want to. Whenever.

Ree said...

Sounds like Stryker could get into drama, too.

Memarie Lane said...

shoot, when i was in high school they banned pagers because they assumed that anyone with a pager must be dealing drugs.

smalltownmom said...

Stryker, the mastermind.

My 12 year old has a phone now. Not a fancy one, as he's not into talking or texting. But he goes a lot of places without me and I can only deal with it if he's in phone contact.

KnittingInMySleep said...

My 13 YO has our "extra" cell phone. I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to text him to unload the dishwasher & it actuslly GETS DONE. Most of the time.

Congrats Stryker, that was an admirable performance. Perhaps you can give Scarlett a run for her money?

thefirecat said...

Hi back!

Jenny Dagle said...

"Stryker has his algebra textbook loaded onto his iPod and that's how he does his homework."

I had to read that sentence three times before I could grasp its meaning. I feel so very old.

Minnesota Matron said...

Thanks for the link, Mrs. G. Friends, it's worth reading! Validation R US.

LaRue said...

We have been kicking around the cell phone thing for a long time, and finally talked with the kids and agreed that them getting their own land-lines in their room was going to be enough for now. Particularly since they have figured out how to text their friends from their computers. Which I do not yet know how to do. Because I am old like that.

Plus? Two land lines from Vonage are FAR less expensive than 2 cell phones. And we still have braces coming...

Julie said...

Stryker's negotiating skills are impeccable! I wish he was giving lessons.

Daisy said...

My daughter and I got our first phones together on a family plan. We've upgraded a few times since then, but we're still on the same basic plan. Finding a phone for my blind son, now that's a challenge.

JCK said...

He knows how to present evidence, that Stryker!

Too funny on him needing to hang up on you.

And that salesman? Yes, he saw you coming in that door.

Anonymous said...

Here's another link for you: Digital Youth Project: Kids's Informal Learning With Digital Media. Fascinating.

I was so proud of myself when I texted each son after I had surgery (broken ankle) to give them a status report. Even we Old Kats™ can learn.