No matter how flashy or pricey, gadgets command little loyalty from the youth of today. They settle only for the trendiest and price does not matterFaustina Johnson email@example.com
Left your watch at home? iPod not working? Need to be up early for that math test? Need company while you wait for your friend to arrive? Need to store that PPT you’ve been working on all night, but can’t find your flash drive? No space left in your bag for your camera? Lost? What do you do? Well, meet Gen Y’s new best friend — the mobile phone.
Depending on who you’re asking, a mobile is either a necessity (kids, students), a fad (hardworking parents), or an invasion (grandparents). It has not escaped your notice, I trust, how much these technological wonders cost and the attitudes of the target audience more so. “I would spend anything and go for the best,” declares Bhavani Kidambi, a commerce student.
A quick survey has revealed to me that “the best” would cost a good degree over Rs.30,000. It doesn’t end there. Once you get away from a basic plan, you can be hit with extra charges for going over your minutes, sending text messages, buying ring tones, and using the Internet.
All that is conveniently ignored by the youth, in light of the advantages. “A mobile makes me accessible to all my friends and relatives. I can surf the Internet sitting in a bus, I can take and send pictures, and do a lot more,” says Shwetha Malhotra, third year degree student. “Nevertheless, I wouldn’t spend more than Rs.5,000 on one,” she adds. An exception, as I see it.
Most students are quite ready to make their parents poorer by at least Rs.10,000. As Eshwar Harsha, an engineering student, puts it, “It is survival of the fittest. The more features your phone has, the more popular you are.”
Of late, I have made a peculiar observation—students around me succumbing to what
I have come to call the Passion de la Blackberry- a sudden and unmistakable affinity for large business phones which were never designed to fit in your pockets. Every day I see countless peers poring over the minuscule keys, self-perceived status and cool quotient justifying their suffering fingers.
“A lot of my friends see it as status symbol. Whether or not the features on the phone would benefit them is another question,” says Sneha M, a student of Loyola Academy.
Interestingly, this seems to be a contained disease. Eshwar, who is from Joginpally Engineering College, says, “I personally don’t find the Blackberry impressive, I don’t think it would appeal to students.” There, you have a clear indicator of peer influence.
Another notable trend is how often these phones are replaced with newer models. Like everything else, mobile phones, however flashy, come with expiry dates—for ability to hold interest, that is. Nirmala Menon, a student, buys a new phone every six months. “I avoid buying expensive phones so that I can upgrade when I tire of my current model or if it gets damaged,” she says. Well, a thought out strategy.
The average age for the first mobile has now plummeted to a mere 11. For youngsters today, getting a mobile is a step towards independence and a status symbol among their friends. They have also proved to be most effective parental bribes. Wish your kid practiced three hours of violin a day? Promise her a mobile phone. What wouldn’t she do.
The mobile phone today has grown much beyond a phone. Now that the mobile phone has replaced even best friends, an iWife would hardly surprise me.