Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't Blame Cell Phone for Low Self-Esteem

In his November 13th article, "Dial 'S' for Shame," Boston Globe staffer Christopher Muther writes about a seventh grader from the Jamaica Plain neighborhood who is so embarrassed by her non-state-of-the-art cell phone that she actually leaves it at home when she goes to school. Although the paper names the young lady, I will not. Some day she is going to grow up and realize how silly she sounds and she doesn't deserve to have her typical tween nonsense live on in perpetuity on the Internet.
The rest of the article, unfortunately is filled with actual adults - chronologically, at least - who, without the excuse of youth, are either ashamed by their older phones or truly believe that their cutting-edge models elevate their status in society.
"An iPhone is like the Rolex of phones," Muther quotes Steve Kidera of the Consumer Electronics Association. "You want people to see you on your iPhone or your BlackBerry to show your status." No, Steve; you want people to see you on your iPhone or BlackBerry. When most people use their phones, they just want to make a phone call.
An "image consultant" named Doris Klietmann insists that you can size up a person's worth by the kind of phone they carry. "If you have someone with a BlackBerry, you can usually assume they're educated and they either earn a good salary or they have an important job that requires them to be in constant communication."
But we all know what happens when we assume. . . Maybe the guy posing with his BlackBerry is just some loser who hired an image consultant who convinced him that that's what he needed in order to appear educated, financially successful and professionally important.
As I read this article, I kept waiting for the Voice of Reason, some sage expert to explain what went so wrong in these people's up-bringing that they are depending on an electronic device to define their sense of self. But there was nothing along those lines. The piece read as if this were perfectly normal human behavior. So much the sadder.
Image courtesy of http://www.clker.com/
Boston Globe Article: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/articles/2008/11/12/dial_s_for_shame/

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