Are We Capable of Surviving a Technology Crisis?

No, Really. The End May Be Near.

Photo Credit: Amberleigh Storms

My story begins in November 2016 when my teenage son asked if he were able to get a new phone. Did he need a new phone? Of course he did. He’s broken every other phone he’s had.

In a time when every phone case on the planet is viewed as more of a stylish accessory than protective gear I just happen to live with the only teenager on the planet who doesn’t like using one.

As we shopped around online he was set on a Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge.

Um, isn’t that the phone that recently set fire on a plane?

It was a tablet, and it didn’t hurt anyone, and we have smoke detectors, and our house is made of plaster and brick, and I think you’re being dramatic, mom.

My definition of dramatic:

Teenager (n.)- A source of drama. - The Erika Sauter Dictionary

Mom (n.)- A person who consistently suffers from teenage drama.- The Erika Sauter Dictionary

Do I buy my teenage son an $800 phone? No, ain’t no way that’s happening. I own the original 2014 Nokia Icon Windows Phone I purchased (refurbished) for $120 back in 2014. If I can survive- I feel confident he can survive.

He disagreed.

I’ll make the payments on it, mom. It’s only $33 a month for three years, says the person with a minimal concept of money.

Shortly after, we received the confirmation email that the phone was on it’s way.

Next step, purchase an Otter Box phone case that he will put on his phone for protection.

Except he didn’t, and he dropped the phone, and the screen shattered, and the phone broke and it cost his parents $260 to fix it even with the insurance.

That was in April 2017.

The $33 monthly payment + $5 per month insurance = $67. Good old, full of shit Corporate America. I refuse to submit to paying more than what we were led to believe. F- you Corporate America. I paid off the phone and my son was left to pay me off instead.

Last week his phone broke again, exactly the way it had before. He had done exactly the same thing. I had no other option than to be an evil mother and ask, Why didn’t you have the case on it?

I know. I’m from hell.

I picked him up from school and he jumped in my pickup truck.

My phone is totally broken. I need a new one right away even if it’s just a cheap phone, says the person with a minimal concept of money.

I laughed, and laughed, and then laughed some more.

Why is that funny?

With the cost of the phone, insurance and what we paid to fix it last time your phone is an $1100 investment. No way are you dismissing that. You’ll pay the $260 and have your phone fixed again and then PUT A CASE ON IT OR I WILL TAKE THE PHONE AND IT WILL BE MY PHONE AND YOU WILL HAVE NO PHONE.

He’s currently waiting for the mailing label to arrive so he can send it in to be repaired.

I give him my phone when he leaves the house. It’s cold here in Iowa and there are far stretches of desolate farmland between each town. I wouldn’t want him to get stuck and not be able to call for help. He could freeze and my mothering skills tend to lean toward narcotic.

At home we’ve been shifting electronic devices. What other choice do we have? He was born in the year 2000. Constant connection to the internet serves as a life support. I wouldn’t want anything tragic to happen to him. He’s already melted down into crisis mode because without a phone he’s lost all his Snapchat streaks.

My husband and I were in the city the other day and I suggested we buy a cheap-ass, prepaid, old school flip phone for emergencies such as this. He’s handed the phone when he leaves the house and we get handed the phone when he returns. We agreed it was a good idea.

That night our daughter broke her phone, but at 22 years old it’s a her problem. Though I will still lend her my phone when she leaves the house (safety first/ narcotic mom) we’d already purchased her cellphones throughout the years and we’re just not doing it anymore. The time has come to adult.

Parents (v.)- Viewed as a never ending supply of cellphone money.- The Erika Sauter Dictionary

She was born in 1995. Just the same as her brother she’ll crumble without constant connection to the internet.

I did make recommendations such as have a face to face conversation with your friends, read a book, clean your room but to no avail because, Are you nuts, mom? What are you even talking about?

So we shifted again. Honestly, I have no idea why. We’re only perpetuating the cycle of technology dependence but in a way their dad and I are being somewhat selfish. As long as they stay connected it limits the drama.

We lent one a laptop, one a tablet and as I sit here and type this I can hear the sound of two different YouTube videos playing from two separate rooms.

At this point we’re taking it day by day but as of right now, we’re surviving the crisis.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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