National Consumers League

Augh! My New Phone Hates Me


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By Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Program Director I just renewed my cell phone plan and “upgraded” to a smartphone. Waaaah! I miss my old phone! Friends assure me I won’t miss it by tomorrow or the next day, but for now I think my new phone hates me and it might be mutual. Here is a sampling of the challenges I encountered on the first day:

  • Help, my phone went to sleep. Dropping it apparently does not wake it up.
  • I can take a picture, oops—that was video. Now how do I send it?
  • How do I answer a call – wait, people still make calls on these things?
  • How do I type on this keyboard since my fingers are thicker than toothpicks?
  • What are you talking about when you say, “drag the ring?”
I’m guessing the typical LifeSmarts participant could give me a 10-minute tutorial that would move me miles ahead in getting acquainted with my new phone. Cell phone penetration in the US is 96%, and while it’s hard to come up with numbers specifically for teen users, surveys report that at least 75% of American youth ages 10-17 have cell phones, and fully 45% of this group have smartphones which they use to text, go online, and even make the occasional phone call. As I fight to type in recognizable English on my new keyboard, I see a statistic online that nearly half of teens report they can text with their eyes closed. Wow, in my current state I find that very impressive. Less cool – 34% of teens who text admit to texting while driving, 26% of teens with phones have been bullied by texts or phone calls, and 15% of teens have received “sexting” messages containing nude or nearly nude images of someone they know. Like all things, there are pluses and minuses to cell phone technology and it’s important to understand what they are. Here’s hoping I get the hang of my new phone, so that in a couple of years I can go kicking and screaming to the next technological advancement.