EDITORIAL/OPINION

To Have and to Hold 

(and perchance to call?)

Cell Phones for Teens!

A 13-year-old is lost in the city. She's surrounded by strange people, some of whom were eyeing her oddly. She looks futilely around for something, anything that looks familiar. Searching her pockets frantically, she finds her cell phone, calls her father, and sighs with relief as he picks up. She tells him that the bus broke down and that she is lost, tells him she's okay and finds her way home using Google Maps. If she didn't have her cell phone, this story probably would have had a very different ending.

Cell phones should be something every young teen should have. They are a tool that can be used in case of an emergency. Say there's a fire and a child has to call home. It's nice for a parent to know that their kid is safe. A cell phone is an easy connector between son or daughter and parent. If one wishes to contact the other, they simply press a button. That is much easier than having to ask someone who they may or may not know if they can use their phone to call their mom/dad or son/daughter. If they get lost and they don't have a phone, they might have to talk to a stranger which could be dangerous. Being alone and having to talk to a stranger when you're only twelve or thirteen years is risky. Who knows what might happen to them? It's also reassuring for a teenager to know that if they're in any danger, they can call for help. Most phones have a command where you can say "Siri, call the police" (As long as you have the police in your contacts which just seems like common sense.)

Another reason why cellphones ought to be available to youngsters is because they provide games that aren't only entertaining, but can teach life lessons. Some games, such as role-playing games, offer life skills like decision-making. In the game, a wrong choice can result merely in a game over. On the other hand, a wrong choice in life can result in job-loss or even worse, physical endangerment. Other games like Trivia Crack focus mainly on facts and learning. Most learning games also have several areas that they cover. Two of the most popular genres of gaming (besides Pokémon Go) are strategy and logic games. Strategy games give the player opponents that are either human of CPUs with human-like AIs. This gives adolescents a chance to try different strategies for different problems and if the strategy fails, there is no real loss. Logic games try to get players to look at situations from different perspectives and think outside the box.

--James P.

No Cell Phones for Teens!

The need and love for cell phones have grown throughout the years. Many people rely on cell phones to contact others or receive important messages. Often though, these mobile devices can be a distraction, especially for middle schoolers, and even harmful. It is not necessary for kids to have them.

The radiation caused by cell phone screens will damage eyes. This means that many people would require glasses. Though vision lenses help, when the eyes gets further damaged, this may cause partial blindness. A middle schooler friend of mine played on his phone all the time and even in the dark. When we waited for food, he crouched over to play on his phone under the table. He soon needed super thick lenses. When his glasses fell or he was not wearing them, he could barely see 5 feet in front of him. Some children spend hours on the phone, giving them hunched backs that can lead to spine injuries and back pain.

Another reason why middle schoolers shouldn't handle a cellphone is because the Internet is a dangerous and unknown world filled with different kinds of people. It is full of hackers and identity thieves. Innocent children may stumble across an interesting website that requires downloading. By downloading, it may lead to hackers who can secretly accesses information, cause viruses, and other dangers. These hackers or companies that create the download will prey on private information by stealing, changing, or destroying it without the owner's permission. Some will try to trick the user into buying things with their money. As dangerous as hackers are, identity thieves are always lurking on the web. Many kids may not know about the presence of the possible thieves and can misuse their parent's credit card numbers, social security number, names and other info. This may happen when students purchase unknown website or app. Another kind of danger is cyberbullying. Sometimes, people think that as long as the other person can't see them, or they don't know each other, they can bully each other. Most of the times, this happens in social media. This may lead to depression and other horrible consequences.

Kids should learn how to suppress their urge of having a cell phone and wait until an appropriate age. This would ensure that their future will be healthy and safe.

--Qiwen