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Smartphones Make Kids Dumb?

Who would have thought that the comedian Louis C.K. would become a shining example for those who feel the use of smartphones has gotten way out of hand, especially by children?

 

The iPhone 5C is seen on display at the Fifth Avenue Apple store
The iPhone 5C is seen on display at the Fifth Avenue Apple store (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Yet his appearance on the Conan O’Brien Show last week has led to renewed debate by some about smartphones in general and more specifically allowing your children to have them.

The Emmy award-winning creator, writer, director and star of the FX comedy series “Louie” is balking at allowing his two teen-age daughters to own smartphones and his basic reason is they allow people to communicate without looking at the other person.  He cites an example of one kid being cruel to another.  If you do it face-to-face you see the reaction and realize you have caused pain while texting a message and hitting send never allows for that.

Ironically I mention this after a weekend in which Apple reported selling a staggering 9 million IPhones as the new 5S and 5C hit the market.  There is no slowing down the use of them but clearly they are part of the reason why young people especially have lost the ability to communicate in one-on-one settings.

Their lives have been reduced to texting in their own language with symbols, abbreviations and the like.  They don’t even talk on their phones anymore and text everything from a simple hello to even ending a relationship.  Why face the person you are breaking up with when you can just write a little message…”hey it was fun but it’s over…have a nice day.”

Customers line up for the new iPhone 5 at the Apple Store inside the Quakerbridge Mall in Lawrence
Customers line up for the new iPhone 5 at the Apple Store inside the Quakerbridge Mall in Lawrence (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Just last week during a meeting with a college official we talked about how young people don’t even make eye contact when they talk with you.  Many are clueless in things we take for granted and you often end up in a one-way conversation. You talk and they listen (maybe) while keeping their head down or looking at everything but the person they are supposed to be speaking with.

While all the blame can’t be put on smartphones it’s clear they are helping contribute to a generation in which communication is often brief and to the point.

But back to Louis C.K.’s dilemma and that is fighting against the trend in not wanting his daughters to have smartphones which of course all their friends do.

It’s an age-old argument parents have had when their children play the “everybody has one but me” game.  Here’s hoping he’ll stick with his principals but my instincts tell me he’ll probably give in and later get a text from them saying “thanks Dad…you’re the best LOL.”

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