Thereare many sides to look at when deciding whether or not music players such asMP3s isolate their users and hamper social interaction. I could argue that whenI look around at who are plugged in, the numbers are small compared with thenumber of teens who occasionally use music to connect into. I’ve been on thebus, and it seems appropriate to tune out the surrounding jabber, and helps tokeep me from staring at a drooling passenger, or a disgruntled elderly person.It does hamper social interaction, but that is the point. Teens all want tomake up their own minds about things, and if they choose to isolate, thats ok,too.
Itsnot a good idea to start limiting the times or situations when teens areprohibited from choosing whether or not to plug in. They are not beingdisruptive in this gesture, they seem courteous to me, and if I need more oftheir attention I just ask for it, no problem. When it appears that they areisolating as I talk to them and they don’t respond, its not them being rude,they just don’t hear me. I learned this fact through trial and effort. I was atthe transit mall, and I was frantically trying to find out which bus wouldconnect me to my destination, and I asked 3 people, all whom were plugged intotheir phones, or MP3s, and finally I stopped one of them and asked them adirect question. This startled them as they unplugged their earbud, andsurprisingly their response was apologetic and helpful.
They said, “I’m sorry,I didn’t hear you.” This was it, I then realized tat being plugged in canisolate the teen from the surroundings, but that is their choice. We all wantthe freedom of choice, and you can’t make someone interested in a socialsituation, and actually on the flip side being plugged in can aid in thecalming of nerves in new social situations. Personally, I work on my homeworkmuch better when I am pegged into my favorite music. It relaxes me, and focusesmy mind on what I am working on. During walks, or working out on the Nautilusmachines at the gym, my Spotify app on my phone, some ear buds and beingplugged in, meant I would enjoy a much more focused and intense gym experience.
Yes,I would never wear my ear buds during a funeral sermon, or while consoling afriend’s broken heart, but that’s my choice, and common sense. I would not plugin while being robbed, threatened with my life, during natural catastrophes,like earthquakes, flood or famine. I wouldn’t consider it, and to think thatcritics are even out there judging teens and that their being plugged in oughtto be limited are forgetting that there are many adults texting while driving,killing innocent pedestrians, other drivers unaware of the texting driver, andthis is a far graver issue than teens plugging into their MP3s. I’m not tryingto pass the buck by bring up the testing drivers, the harm this creates and thesubsequent slogan “Don’t Text and Drive, It Can Wait.
” I just think that teensare more aware of their world than critics give them credit for. Remember theteen age years? Everyone remembers how important it was/is for teenagers to betaken seriously, and to be granted the same freedom of choice their years andlevel of experience can allow. The greatest gift someone can give me is toextend faith in my ability to make the right choice, and to show and offer methe respect I deserve as a young man to learn from my experiences. Limiting myability to plug into my music device so I can be more available in socialinteractions is backwards thinking. Yes, plugging into MP3s can hamper socialinteraction, and can be dangerous in a traffic cross-walk, but so does textingwhile driving. We all know these things, but some of us keep doing it, andtaking measures to limit the use of MP3s during certain social situations onlygives rise to sneaky behavior, or secretive actions that cover up the hiddenusage. What needs to be promoted among teens during social interactions is totake them/us as we are, ear buds and all, and if you want to connect with us,take the time and ask us. Breathe, relax, we are all just people who can makemistakes, and we ought to not trust in all appearances.
What looks like a rudeteenager might be a happy teen who just can’t hear you. So, just be patient andtake the time to get their/our attention.