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Friends Always On The Phone? Cell Phone Manners for Teenagers

Everywhere you go, everyone is talking about the problem with teens and technology. We talk about it all the time at Your Teen. In the car, they’re on their phones. At dinner, the phone is under the table. They’re texting while watching TV. There is a laundry list of grievances.

For more perspectives on cell phones:

We’re so worried about their future. No one makes eye contact. Even those teens who socialize with a group of friends—we’re worried about them because they are merely sitting together while they are deeply lost to their devices.

While there is much to worry about, there’s good news on the horizon. As we all try to manage our tech usage (it’s not just a teen problem), teens are starting to make changes. They are feeling the loss of meaningful friend time and creating systems to ensure that time together should be time together.

Your Teen asked intern Jamie Semel to tell us what she and her friends are doing to minimize the phone distractions and maximize the face time. Jamie and her friends let us see that the future is promising.

It is standard behavior for teens to nod our heads, say “Uh-huh,” and pretend that we’re paying attention to something someone is saying, when in reality we’re looking down at our phones, texting our friends or looking at the latest updates on Twitter and Instagram.

We all do it. So how do we stop focusing on phone distractions, when we should be focusing on our friends IRL (in real life)?

Here’s what my friends and I have come up with: PHONES OFF / FRIENDS ON.

It’s simple. When we’re out, we put our phones face-down in the middle of the table. The first person to reach for his or her phone loses and must face the consequences. You can decide what those are with your friends, but for us it’s usually paying for everyone’s dessert and getting your phone confiscated!

Jamie Semel is a senior in high school.

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