For Christmas this year we told Joe that we weren't buying him a lot of things, but rather one expensive thing. We asked him if he would rather have some sort of tablet or a smart phone. Since he is really into movies, we thought he would pick the tablet. But not for the first time, he surprised us and asked for a smart phone because he really wanted a camera.
The phone he got is certainly not "high end". But considering that for 4 years all he has had is a "pay as you go" flip phone, this was a huge step up in technology for Joe.
Unlike most teenagers, technology does not come naturally to Joe. We had to have his cousin (who is three years older than him) come over to visit to teach him how to text. She did a great job and for years he would keep in touch with us via text. But so many times we had bizarre communications that might have been cleared up with a picture so I was secretly pretty happy that he picked the smart phone.
The conversation that sticks in my mind is when he called me to ask me what flavor of whipped cream I wanted. Um, flavor? Yeah they have blueberry and strawberry. Really? Turns out they have different fruit pictured on the regular and low-fat versions. Wow. The things you do not notice until they are described to you by a very literal person.
So while many parents of teenagers probably hate when their offspring are obsessed with their phones, I am (not so secretly) pleased. It is so "normal" to see Joe reach for his phone first thing in the morning to see what is up. Of course responding to people (especially his aunts, uncles and grandparents) would be a real plus, but any step forward in communication is still a step forward. He loves that his calendar is on there and that he doesn't have to write himself reminders anymore.
Last weekend he was texting with two different girls (both "friends") and he joked that he was "Mr. Popular". Oh my. DH's response? "I wish I'd had that problem when I was his age ..."