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  • Writer's pictureDrew Myers

cellular proliferation.

My son is 14 years old. He doesn’t have a cell phone.

I know that he is in the minority. I know he’s an outlier. I know many of his friends think I’m a hard-nosed jerk. (One of Crash’s friends actually said, “Seriously? You don’t have a phone? Your dad is mean!”)

This is important: I’m totally okay with all of

those facts. (And the accusation.) 

Since Crash was old enough to understand, we’ve told him that he wasn’t getting a phone until he was 16. 

My rationale: Cell phones are rotting our brains. Yes, they are a tremendous tool - and a great way to stay connected - but that doesn’t mean they’re not slowly

corroding our cerebrums and cerebellums. They’re diminishing our social interactions. They’re distracting us from the beautiful things in this world. They’re making us lazy. 

This hypothesis is absolutely true for adults, but even more so for prepubescent teens whose prefrontal cortexes are still maturing.

I did a quick Google search to validate my bold claims surrounding cell phones and brain development. I couldn’t find anything concrete. Then I just started to watch teenagers with phones, and I knew without a shadow of doubt that I wasn’t wrong. 

Here’s the deal…

I know my son will eventually have a phone, I just wanted to delay the inevitable as long as possible. That before-mentioned prefrontal cortex is kind of a big deal. This is the part of the brain that “intelligently regulates our thoughts, actions and emotions through extensive connections with other brain regions.”

My thought process … the longer we wait, the better. Let that brain develop! Well, I recently realized that I may have to stop playing my slow-down offense sooner than I wanted. 

“Dad … I put together a PowerPoint presentation on why I should get a phone now,” Crash recently told me. “Can I present it to you?” 

After I called him a giant nerd, I agreed.  

On the big day, he got “dressed up,” which means he put on a collared shirt and a cap that didn’t have sweat stains. He stood in the living room; his presentation was on the TV behind him. He had a Post-it Note in his hands, just in case he lost his train of thought. 

He had five slides making his case for a phone. The rest of the slides were the apps he was going to have on his phone. 

I can sum up his presentation in two words: Solid effort! His most compelling slide: “It will teach me responsibility.”

His most ridiculous slide: “Quicker response time” (he has an Apple watch to communicate in a pinch; he calculated how fast he can type on each device)

His funniest slide (one of the apps he’ll have on his phone): Maps - “so I don’t get lost and die.” 

His most compelling argument: “I’ll pay for the phone with my own money.” 

So the million-dollar question: What did I decide? 

I have until August 1 to make my decision. Stay tuned. 

Here are some of the slides from Crash's 37-slide presentation. Reminder: He used the first five slides to make his case for a phone; the rest of the slides were the apps he was going to have on his phone.  





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