Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Apple Of Her Eye: First Phone As Rite Of Passage

The rites of passage.  Your first lemonade stand. When you lose your bike’s training wheels.  A first kiss. Getting a driver’s license.    

For several generations, these were some of the markers you looked forward to obtaining and never forget.  Now we can add obtaining your first smart phone.

My daughter, 11 and a half years old, sprayed her innocent smile across her face as she put a new iphone in her hands, knowing it was hers to keep.  Her eyes lit up as if she found out dreams can come true.  Her body shook in excitement, her small frame seemingly incapable of containing all of the energy looking to burst out of her.

She gained a phone, and I began the process of losing a daughter to memes, apps, texts, and dog videos.  But it’s the way of the world now.  Food, clothes, shelter.  Clean water and air.  Love. Cellphone.  What else does one really need?

On 8.8.19, my daughter’s life has changed.  She got a new ipohone7.  Sure, it's an older model but still ahead of the 6 that I still carry around.

I’m happy because she’s happy.  There are times having communication with her from afar is convenient, even necessary.  She will start middle school next month and this seemed like the right time for her to get a phone.  She would say the right time is now also – and maybe six months sooner would’ve been great, too, or so she tells me.

The smart phone is between being a toy and a necessity.  It’s a convenient diversion from what’s unfolding in the very space that you occupy, but  in one way it keeps people connected. It’s become a poor substitute to verbal dialogue and in-person bonding.  But curse or cure, the smart phone is a staple of modern-day life.

I was late to the cell phone craze.  Talking really late. I think I bought my first one about 20 years ago.  Then I was late to the smart phone craze.  Then I was late to the Apple phone trend.  But that’s okay.  Society is my beta and once something seems necessary, I’ll buy in.

Some people still have not crossed into the marvels and burdens of having a smart phone.  My mom and father-in-law, both in their 70’s, have crude flip phones with no data plans. It’s purely a phone.  They haven’t experienced having a hand-held computer on call, 24-7.

Up until now, my daughter read books, watched television, had play dates, and participated in after-school activities.  While I don’t really expect that to change, I do wonder, even fear, how much time her phone pre-occupation will take away from each activity.  How will even her experience of day-to-day life change, knowing she can get lost online at any moment an in-person conversation wanes or a TV show lulls? She has begun to hear the "ping" and feels obligated to react to someone else sharing content that may be of little substance.

I feel like she just grew up.  Even though she has a laptop and has had an ipod and access to other technology, she never had it all in her pocket, day and night, wherever she went. 

Now the doors of the world are open to her, including haters, freaks, and dangerous people who lurk behind some of them.  

She’s now suddenly flying but will need to plot her own course.  There’s no GPS for where her phone could take her.

As a parent, you want to see your child thrive be happy, stay curious, remain challenged, and to be fueled by her dreams.  One could be all of these things without a smart phone.  But as time goes on, society seemingly requires and expects everyone to be wired into the same universe.

Well, she has her passport in hand.  Let’s see where she decides to go.

“I tend to believe all writers are cartographers and we are mapping human experiences.”

--Roxane Gay

“I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.”

--Steve Martin

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

--Maya Angelou

“To live a creative life we must first lose the fear of being wrong.”

--Joseph Chilton Pearce

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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