Friend or Foe | Teen Ink

Friend or Foe

May 24, 2021
By Anonymous

“Every time there's a new tool, whether it's the Internet or cell phones or anything else, all these things can be used for good or evil. Technology is neutral; it depends on how it's used.” 

 - Rick Smolan

Even without my mother with me, I can hear her stern nagging “you are on that phone too much,” or “get off that damned phone,” and “get your face out of your phone.” All she sees me do when I am on my phone is text, send emojis, and take funny pictures and videos to send to my friends. I understand her perspective, however what about all the aspects she doesn't see when I’m on my phone? Has she seen the money I've made through social media? Or the assignments turned in for school on my Google Classroom app? All I am saying is that as much as phones can be a distraction in life, they can also be used as a tool for success when used correctly. 

For most students cell phones are used in the classroom almost every day, especially with many teenagers being fully remote this year. Oxford Learning created “Should CellPhones be Allowed in Classrooms”, an article which mentions smartphone uses in the classroom including: obtaining educational learning applications, incorporating digital platforms into lessons, supplementing lessons with digital materials, and providing easier access to information. Many times, even this quarter in school, I've had to take a photograph of my work and submit it using Google Classroom on my phone. If I did not have a cell phone, submitting that work would be a hassle. I even had a boy in my class who needed me to take a picture of his work and email it to him all because he didn't have a working smartphone. Oxford Learning supports that, “Cell phones give students access to tools and apps that can help them complete and stay on top of their class work. These tools can also teach students to develop better study habits, like time management and organization skills.” It is up to the students to turn smartphones into a positive weapon instead of a negative distraction. The benefits of smartphones do not stop in the classroom.

Smartphones are devices that can pretty much print money with the correct skills. In this day and age, all we need to do in order to make a quick buck is take a picture of a new or even used product, slap a price tag on it, and wait for it to sell. You can start delivering food with no in-person interview with mobile apps like Instacart, Doordash, GrubHub, or Uber Eats. You can also make a full-time salary from creating content for other people online. Influencers make anywhere from $30,000-$100,000 and up. Smart devices like phones can also be used to start a full functioning business. With a little help from your laptop, and free content making from your cell phone, you now have free advertisement and a website to sell products on. I myself have taken on some of these challenges and opportunities, however all my mother sees is a boy with an addiction to his phone. When we all know that when her beloved son goes off to college, the real addiction will be found in her very own blood stream trying to use every application for communication possible. She will be found red handed using every call, text, and facetime app possible on her very own smartphone.

By no means am I saying that all teenagers who use smartphones are using them only to be productive with a positive outcome. Many teenagers do have issues putting their devices down and looking at the real, beautiful world. However, this does not change the beneficial potential that these cell phones have. I ask that we as humans look at smartphones in a new light. As an opportunity, a tool, a resource, a job, a connector, and a game changer.

The author's comments:

After losing my first job due to covid I researched online how to start various side hustles. I successfully started an Affiliate Marketing businesss, started investing in stocks, and even learned about realesate. I was able to write so passionatly about my topic becuase cell phones have such a terrible rep with the old gererations when really they can be tools that can change your life. 

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