Man, I’d hate to be a teenager today.
From Sunday’s Boston Globe front page:
Texting teenagers who stay ‘on call’ all night pay the price in lost sleep
Brookline 10th-grader Ashley Olafsson sleeps with her cellphone under her pillow so she doesn’t miss “emergency’’ texts — “like if a friend broke up with her boyfriend.’’ Stephanie Kimball of Waltham, 14, is also available for urgent overnight correspondence, such as, “Hey, seeing if you’re awake.’’ Dedham ninth-grader Courtney Johnson gets as many as 100 texts while in bed. “I just don’t feel like myself if I don’t have my phone near me or I’m not on it,’’ she said.
Sure, all that middle-of-the-night communication leaves them tired, but as Olafsson explained, “It’s impolite not to respond if someone is coming to you with their problems.’’
Which apparently happens all the time, since teenagers sent and received “an average of 3,276 texts per month in the last quarter of 2010, according to the most recent statistics from the Nielsen Co.”
And that leads to this:
[M]any teens said feeling popular and connected to friends is more important than a good night’s rest.
“When I’m texting someone I don’t feel alone,’’ said A.J. Shaughnessy, a ninth-grader at Boston College High School. “When you don’t have your phone, you feel incomplete.’’
That’s just sad.
Even sadder, though, is this front-page piece in Sunday’s New York Times:
A Girl’s Nude Photo, and Altered Lives
LACEY, Wash. — One day last winter Margarite posed naked before her bathroom mirror, held up her cellphone and took a picture. Then she sent the full-length frontal photo to Isaiah, her new boyfriend.
Both were in eighth grade.
They broke up soon after. A few weeks later, Isaiah forwarded the photo to another eighth-grade girl, once a friend of Margarite’s. Around 11 o’clock at night, that girl slapped a text message on it.
“Ho Alert!” she typed. “If you think this girl is a whore, then text this to all your friends.” Then she clicked open the long list of contacts on her phone and pressed “send.”
In less than 24 hours, the effect was as if Margarite, 14, had sauntered naked down the hallways of the four middle schools in this racially and economically diverse suburb of the state capital, Olympia. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of students had received her photo and forwarded it.
And it just gets worse from there in this staggeringly detailed report.
CORRECTION: Man, I’d hate to be the parent of a teenager today.