"Dear Carol, everyone has a phone except me. I feel so left out"
One of my good friends got a new phone for Christmas. Ever since, she’s been spending a lot of time on it and ignoring me. I try to start conversations without the phone around, but she doesn’t want to talk to me! It seems like everyone has a phone except me. My parents joke about me not getting a phone until I can pay for one, but it makes me wonder if they are serious.
Dear Left Out,
Smartphones and social media can be so addictive. The world is at everyone’s fingertips: real news, fake news, videos, photos...not to mention an endless stream of texts and tweets and posts and chats. It’s hard to compete—at first. But eventually people realize that not only is it rude to be studying your device when an actual human being is with you, but that it feels good to put away the phone and run or hike or go to a movie or park or concert or museum. Tell this friend you don’t mind her checking her phone now and again, but it hurts when she’s always on it. You also can invite her to do some of your favorite things together...minus the phone. And frankly, there’s something a little off when a group of friends is together, but they’re all staring at their phones as if what’s on the screen is more interesting than what they’re up to in real time. Make the most of your bestie time—learn to cook, host a movie marathon, get lost in books, sketch, dabble in painting, babysit, memorize poems, follow what interests you, become an expert in something. Having a smartphone is a mixed blessing and, chances are, your parents will soon want you to have one so they can know where you are. Until then, try to think of these weeks ahead as digital freedom.
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