OMG, so many PDAs in the hallwayz! txt back when u get this!

By Taryn Valley
Published: October 2009

On a recent cross-country flight, my mother and I sat next to a businessman, complete with blue dress shirt, purple tie, and iPhone.

But in the second hour of the trip, as my mom responded to emails and I listened to music, I nonchalantly peeked over the businessman’s shoulder and realized his iPhone wasn’t used for business at all. He was playing, I discovered upon investigation, “Civilization Revolution, which he found very fun and relaxing. The wonder of the iPod apps abound.

At South, iPhones and Blackberries have become extremely common. Because their prices start as low as 99 dollars, these devices are becoming increasingly available to students. Almost all phone networks provide these handheld computers, and they link in with cell coverage that is provided in the Newton South cafeteria and commons, as well as outside the school.

Karina Berenbaum got an iPhone at the beginning of her senior year and says that buying the phone was “just very convenient. She answers her new phone on the first ring.

Although service is limited inside the school, iPhones and Blackberries are all around South. Even though many use these new devices as regular phones to call or text, they can also be used for internet, messaging, and the obsessive Apps.

I, as the stereotypical Newton South student, have also been duly affected by the onset of the iPhone. When my cell phone collapsed due to water damage after two years of faithful coverage, I found myself stranded in the AT&T store on Needham Street, carefully weighing my desire for coolness against the difficulty of negotiating with my mother.

When I realized that the iPhone 3G’€not the new one, but certainly not boring’€cost just as much as most of the “normal phones, I decided to try for negotiations. Throughout the chaotic summer, I realized the beauty of having the internet as well as all sorts of exciting Apps and music at my fingertips.

After repeatedly promising my parents, friends, and extended family that I would not become “one of those iPhone people, I now check my email about 78 times a day, often during breaks in classes and rehearsal. I download new Apps obsessively, and last month I was 200 text messages over my limit.

This week, when the computer in my house mysteriously stopped functioning, I maintained my connection with the outside world through the tenuous link provided by my small but mighty lime-green-covered iPhone. The day I got it, I named it Edward.
Blackberries, similarly, provide a new world of communication. Stephi Dworkin, also a senior, got her Blackberry when her phone broke last year. She thought she’d buy one for college eventually, so she “might as well just get it. She has around 45 friends who have iPhones or Blackberries’€a number calculated by looking at her list of friends on BBM (Blackberry Messenger) and adding three for an estimate of friends with iPhones.

Berenbaum estimated that between ten and 20 of her friends have iPhones or Blackberries. Often, these tiny computers are just used, in Berenbaum’s words, “like normal phones’€for texting and calling.

But what Dworkin calls the “definite advantage of internet use is ever-present.

However, this advantage can sometimes be a distraction or even a nuisance. Berenbaum thinks that iPhones are “very helpful for certain things, like keeping yourself organized but that “sometimes… you just have to know when to prioritize, and not procrastinate with the phone’s endless possibilities.

Dworkin agreed, saying that Blackberries are “not overly neccesary. She added that it was useful to have when she went away for the summer because, just like in my own experience, she could check email much more than was allowed by her camp’s rules.

But, Berenbaum agrees with Dworkin that iPhones and Blackberries are “unnecessary in high school. One of Berenbaum’s friends, leaving high school, told her that she needed one for college.

“I thought that was interesting, because you have computer, you have a normal phone’€yeah, it might be helpful, but I don’t think you need it, Berenbaum said.

My mother agrees. She says she doesn’t think iPhones should be used in school, at work, or anyplace where anything else is going on. To her, it seems like high school students always have all their friends around, so why would they need a phone?

My mother then looked back to her email. She wasn’t checking it on her Blackberry or iPhone’€she’s refused to get one on principle’€but instead on her first-generation Samsung Blackjack. While chastising me for using my iPhone at all hours, she herself cannot live without her newfangled phone.

At home, like at South, these amazing and distracting inventions are leading to new ways of communication.

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