Teenagers: Lost rites of passage (Part One)

Lost Rites of Teenagers by Tom NashIn this ‘digital’ age, it is easy to get swept up in the rate at which society is adapting to, and becoming reliant on new technologies. What people are slow to notice are the certain character defining events in a young person’s life that this new technology makes void. Here are a few examples:

Ringing landlines
Now everyone’s got a mobile phone, the only reason to have a phone line in the house is so you can access the internet which, along with the introduction of instant messaging has changed the face of teenage interaction forever. Long gone are the days when the only way to contact the object of your adolescent desire was to ring their house and run the gauntlet of speaking to their family members.
Every now and then you’d get off lightly and the person you wanted to speak to would answer, saving any embarrassment or awkwardness, but more often than not, it would be a parent that picked up. Now I can’t speak on how this experience was for girls, but as most of you know, can remember or are currently experiencing, teenage boys aren’t as smooth and calculated as they like to think they are. No matter what you planned to say if her dad answered, when presented with the reality, it was impossible to stop the voice in your head reminding you that you wanted to hump this man’s daughter and he fucking knew it. Scary.
If you could get through those conversations without making a twat of yourself, you were laughing. Next time you rang they’d normally invite you over for dinner. If they didn’t…
What’s the equivalent these days? Saying hello when one of their folks walk into the background of a Skype conversation? They’re getting off too easy, I tells ya!
Knocking for people
Again thanks to mobile phones, as well as social networking and tabloid media-fuelled fear of paedophiles, everything is prearranged these days. Before mobiles, if you wanted to get a group together to loiter menacingly outside some shops or go to the park to drink shit cider and 20/20 but couldn’t get hold of certain people on the phone, you had to go to their house/flat to get them.
If you wanted to speak to the person you fancied but didn’t have their phone number, you would recruit a friend to join you for moral support and go knock for them. Again, you would run the gauntlet of family member awkwardness, but it’d always be a hell of a lot worse for them, especially if the family already knew your name. Then you’d spend the next few hours standing on their doorstep doing exactly the same as teenagers do now on Aim, Facebook, MSN, Skype and the rest; talk a lot about fuck all. But you’d do it in person. With vowels.
Keep their lives private
I realise this has been covered in a previous post but it needs reiterating.
If Facebook had existed when I was between the ages of twelve and eighteen the last thing I would’ve done is add my parents to my friend list. They know what you’re up to, they just don’t want to admit it, so why let them know explicitly by giving them access to your social life? Why hasten their disappointment in you? Can any good at all come from your mother having access to photos of you vomiting in a nightclub toilet? Or that one of you passed out on the floor with a penis drawn on your forehead?
There was once a time when your mum wouldn’t find out that you smoked weed until that time you were too stoned to hide it properly and she found it in your drawer while she was on one of her routine snoops around your room. You must’ve been stoned when you accepted the friend request too because now you’ve also given her the power to cyber-snoop! Now all she needs to do is look at what you’ve ‘liked’ on Facebook, wait till you post a ‘…was so baked last night’ status update or see you tagged in a photo with a spliff in your hand. Why do it to yourself?
That’s enough for now. Or click here for Part Two