For anyone who didn’t read The Teenage Chronologues: Part 1 ‘Boyfriends’, this is my new series which documents chat and overheard conversations with the teens. It’s a play on words chronicling the monologue and dialogue, hence chronologues, which enables us a beautiful (sometimes, yes it’s been known to happen) and mind-blowing (most of the time!) insight into this wonderful age group that we call teenagers!
This week’s chronologue is all about mobile phones, no forget that … it’s all about the resulting teen separation anxiety when pulled apart from their mobile phone. So much so, that I reckon there should be a whole new medical term for this phenomenon … oh wait, there is, just Googled it … Nomophobia (no more phone phobia)! Wow, who knew that?!
One study by Rahman (2015) found that when teens were separated from their phones they experienced stress and anxiety. She also found that blood pressure and heart rates were elevated amongst those without their phone, concluding that not having a phone around is stressful. When separated from their phones, Rahman found that teenager’s skills such as memory, attention and response time were actually worse when without their phone, thus finding that being separated from a phone does cause stress and decreased attention span. Incredible!
Now, with this is mind, separating a teen from their phone takes immense courage by the parent and causes such a reactionary response of rapid escalating diabolical behaviour that I would encourage anyone considering such removal to think very carefully before proceeding!
So, picture the scene … Saturday family movie and takeout night … two parents, two teens and one preteen snuggled down on the sofa … movie starts … opening music hasn’t even finished and a phone starts vibrating … thank goodness not mine as husband had something near an apoplectic fit … and the lovely happy family scene starts to go a little something like this …
Husband: Phones. Kitchen … NOW!
Teen 1: No it’s OK I’ll pop it under the cushion.
Husband: Kitchen NOW!
Teen 2: Dad it’s OK I’ve turned it to silent.
Husband: If I see either of you looking at your phone it will go in the fire.
Teen 1: Well that’s just ridiculous as it will only end up costing you money.
Husband: How do you figure that? You won’t be getting a new one. He means it – tone of voice is everything here.
Teen 1: Oh my God I just want to text my boyfriend … Helen (she calls me that when really trying to make a point!) tell him!
Me: Think best you pop it in the Kitchen … both of you. I feel their pain but Husband is not joking about the fire.
Teen 2: OH MY GOOOOOOOOD we aren’t even looking at them … they are just next to us.
Teen 1 to Teen 2: I can’t even deal with this. We aren’t looking at them. We aren’t even texting. What is the problem? Tapping her foot excessively, lips pursed and a look that would make the Ice Queen shiver.
Teen 2: Can’t cope. Throws arms down on sofa. This is SO unfair.
Husband: I’ve warned you … one look at the phone and it will go in the fire.
Teen 2: Shuddup, shuddup, shuddup we heard you the first 50 times!
Teen 1: actual out loud groaning.
Now, I’d like to point out here that I have really nice kids. I know everyone thinks that about their children but, seriously, mine are great … most of the time … usually mature, gorgeous, conscientious and don’t really give me too much of a hard time but this behaviour happened … no banter, no sarcasm but genuine mobile phone separation anxiety … did it shock me just how difficult it was for them not to look at their phones for the duration of a movie? No, not really because I’m as guilty … and it raises some serious issues about addressing this obsession … Rahman’s findings were definitely showcased in our house on this particular night.
I know people have spoken about social media detoxing and I think perhaps I’m going to have to consider this for my kids. However, if I want them to do it I’m going to have to take part too so I’m not sure I’ll be looking into it too rapidly … how bad is that? … perhaps Rahman also needs to perform the same research on a group of blogging mums … just saying!