Roving Teen Reporter “Screenagers”
Lily Nilipour | Torrey Pines High School Senior
Everywhere we go, we have our phones with us. At school, work, restaurants, sports games, concerts, you name it. Now, with such an easy accessibility to technology, our phones follow us like eager dogs. It is this that prompts one of the most common criticisms of teenagers like me and my friends and peers: that we are harmfully addicted to our phones, our screens, our devices.
No doubt, we are attached to our phones. Often, hangouts devolve into checking Facebook feeds, get-togethers disintegrate into clicking through Snapchat stories, and vacations become opportunities to utilize Instagram filters. Countless time is spent deciding which photo to post or what caption to write.
Yet, though I am not defending the overuse of devices, it has become increasingly difficult to separate social interactions with technology. As fellow Torrey Pines senior Jessica G. said, “I wouldn’t say that I disapprove of kids using technology, because it’s such a big part of our society. Technology is advancing so fast that we’re all scrambling to keep up.” The addiction to our screens may be more prevalent among youth, but that does not at all mean we are the only ones guilty of such. The phenomenon is something that is widespread across age groups, places, and cultures.
The term “screenager” in that sense seems to be a paradoxical disdain. “In a lot of ways, the people that are most equipped to deal with the “technological revolution” are teenagers and young adults, because they’re in the know about different phones and apps and uses of technology,” Jessica said. In school and in society, we as young people are encouraged to pursue innovation and invention, yet are at the same time degraded for using the products of that same innovation and invention.
Indeed, the constant use of our devices can be detrimental to numerous aspects of our daily lives, from achievement to extracurricular activities to relationships. But it is just as detrimental for the opposite to happen — to condescend teens as susceptible victims to a revolution they did not even create, and to thus polarize different generations rather than unite them. Both groups must play an active part in finding a balance in such a fast-paced and hectic world, a process that should be absent of patronizing criticism from one side and indignant indifference from the other.