From time to time, one passes a phone booth, a lonely sentinel on the street corner, doomed to its solitary life, despite its communicative nature. Parents have to explain their existence to little ones.
If the tech-savvy kids of today had a sense of irony, they might revive the competitive 1950s fad of “let’s see how many people we can stuff inside a phone booth,” and then photograph it from inside with their cell phones. Or something. Maybe fill a phone booth with all their old, outdated cell phones, you know, the ones from last year.
Nobody values today’s teens more than the mobile phone industry. USA Today reports that a new study by Harris Interactive, conducted in partnership with CTIA, the wireless industry’s lobbying arm, found that almost half of teens surveyed say they would “die” without their mobile phones. Thank goodness slightly more than half would manage to live if such a thing were to happen. Survival of the fittest and all that. (You can just hear the poll taker ask in all seriousness: “Would you die without your cell phone?”) And teens are supposed to be the dramatic ones.
The teens said that mobile devices are the No. 1 status symbol, followed by jewelry/watches and shoes/sneakers. So look for phones in that vein. Teens would also like an application that would allow a user to translate any language in real time, 3-D holographic displays, mobile banking and voting via mobile devices. Phones can do anything, if the mobile folks just put their minds to it. Can we live in mobile phones? Drive them? Oh, wait. Then they wouldn’t be itsy bitsy devices anymore, which the is most status symboliest thing of all.
Half of the teens surveyed said they could text blindfolded. (In the olden days this used to be called touch typing and shared the burden among all fingers, rather than being thumb reliant.) The study found that without texting, “a significant portion of teens say their social life would be ruined.” Those dramatic pollsters again. “Would your social life be ruined if suddenly you couldn’t text anymore?” “Yes! It really would be ruined, now that you mention it.”
The mobile phone industry, which is mostly concerned about those teens who might die without a phone, are also interested in teens because they represent a $100 billion market, according to USA Today. Wow. That’s a lot. That must be based on the survey finding that “about 75 percent of teens plan on having a mobile phone as long as they live.” Well, until it morphs into something cooler. But that $100 billion market right now? What’s the texty lingo for “get the parents to pay for it”?