Monday, March 18, 2013

Some People Would Rather Text Than Drive

Sometimes movie lines can remain funny over time, but the reason that the line is humorous may change.

When I sat in the theater and heard Matthew Broderick as Ferris Beuller say, "I asked for a car, I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?" I chuckled along with most other people in the theater. In 1986, we empathized.

In 2013, the.audience might still chuckle, but they might see the line as ironic. The Los Angeles Times reports that many teens are like Allison Katz:
Given a choice between a new Toyota Corolla or the latest iPhone, 16-year-old Allison Katz of Irvine says that's an easy one.
She'd take the phone.
Texting drives her social life. She doesn't have a driver's license and hasn't rushed to get one.
"I mostly stay near my house except for soccer practice, and then Mom or Dad drives," Allison said.
The article also contains the following chart showing that the number of people who have a drivers license has decreased quite dramatically in the last 20 years.

 I don't know what South Dakota's numbers are. I'm guessing that the state is an outlier and that the number of licensed teen drivers has not fallen very much. I'm certain that the number of 17 and 18 year olds in the state with a drivers license has not fallen by 20%

I'm also guessing that the young'uns who come into my classroom would tell their parents that they want both the phone and the car. They would probably still agree with Ferris that getting a computer instead of a car is evidence of being born under a bad sign, but they don't want to check Facebook and text constantly. A computer or smartphone is a decent consolation prize.

That being said, the young'uns are tied to their tech. They certainly complain loudly if their parents "ground them" by taking away phones or computers.

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