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Cell Therapy: A Teenager Talks About Her Phone

Kamryn Campbell
Basim Blunt
Kamryn Campbell

Many of us, young and old, spend too much time on our  smartphones.  Today on Dayton Youth Radio we’ll hear a teenager’s perspective on living with and without her phone. 
Every child has one of those moments where their parent just looks at them like, Oh my God, I really signed up for this. It's trial and error, being a parent.

So it was 2014. I believe I was in sixth or seventh grade. Like any other kid in my generation, I used my phone a lot. I was shy and always stayed to myself so my phone was the most important necessity. I didn't have one of the best phones out there either; it was a Motorola. But I couldn't complain because most of the kids in my grade didn't even have a phone.

I had a specific routine in the morning, I would wake up, get on my phone for 15 minutes, watch YouTube videos while doing my hair, get dressed. Then I would watch Netflix or YouTube on the bus to school. Out of 18 hours in a day, I would spend 10 hours on my phone probably like your own kids do.

Back then we had Verizon. It was me, my step mom Joanne, my sister Jasmine, me and my dad's phone altogether. Thinking back on it, it was so expensive. My dad worked at a factory at the time so the phone bill took up a big chunk of his check. He paid $500 a month for all of our phones. He could pay a car note with that. He could pay rent with that. I had four gigabytes of data a month on my phone, and I would use all of them on Netflix. I needed an unlimited data like a baby need his binky.

My dad didn't want to pay for unlimited data. I remember my dad Darnell would always complain about how I would always run up his bill. Being young and naive, I laughed and ignored him telling me to stop using the data. Weeks went by, and it eventually came time to pay my phone bill. I came home to remind my dad. He laughed in my face. He went on to say that I cost him a thousand dollars because I used so much data.

I went without a phone for a year or two. I was surprised that he would do something like that. I was confused by the whole situation. My phone was my addiction and being without it left me feeling empty. My dad gave me a lot of warnings, and I never took him seriously because he felt more like a friend than a dad to me. At the time, it felt like it was the end of the world. I went from using my phone all the time to almost never being able to use it at all.

The biggest lesson I learned: put down the phone for a while; think about your consequences.

Honestly, I have better communication skills because I put down my phone more often. I learned how to look people in the eyes without feeling nervous. I know that I was born into a generation where phones were the thing, and they still are, but all I wanted to do was lay around all day and just sit on my phone. I learned that I was actually missing out on so much, I really was. Now that I'm older, I appreciate what I have. I appreciate my iPhone. I appreciate my Jordans, and I appreciate the roof over my head. 

Kamryn Campbell is a student at Stivers School for the Arts. Special thanks Leslie Rogers and Eva Maksutis of the Creative Writing Magnet. Learn more at the school's website: http://www.stivers.org/ Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.