Seán Moncrieff: I’m switching to another phone. My daughter is outraged

Despite what they are desperate to tell you, phones are pretty much all the same

An Android is, apparently, social suicide. At least that’s what Daughter Number Three tells me. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

An Android is, apparently, social suicide. At least that’s what Daughter Number Three tells me. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

 

Teenagers are weird and sometimes annoying for many reasons, but one is their attitude towards phones. The kind of phone your average teenager owns is, apparently, a great source of social anxiety. They can be ashamed of the brand, yet have no embarrassment over the disgusting state they keep it in. It can be dirty, greasy, not fully functional and so cracked it looks like it’s been used for target practice. But as long as it’s not an Android, then it’s fine.

An Android is, apparently, social suicide. At least that’s what Daughter Number Three tells me. To have it forced upon you by cruel or skinflint parents is one thing; that might elicit some sympathy from one’s peers. But to deliberately choose this operating system is inexplicable.

It’s also inexplicable as to why she feels this way. Certainly, she was unable to provide any reasons for it, other than a misty conviction that iPhones are always better. Daughter Number One swooped in with something more concrete: the camera on an iPhone is superior. Pictures of dodgy looking guys on Tinder are always taken with an Android. I can’t stand over the accuracy of any of that.

Some context: the conversation with Daughter Number Three took place when I told her that I was getting a new phone. As she is the most egregious phone vandaliser/charger thief in our family, she would be getting my old one. But her delight at this news was almost completely overshadowed by the news that I was switching to Android. She kept asking: Why?

I wasn’t able to provide a singular answer. I felt like a change. Phones have evolved in a contradictory way. At first, they were brick-like, then they shrank to as small as possible, then grew again to a slab so big you need special pockets sewn into your clothes to accommodate it. I wanted something slightly smaller.

But it was also prompted by the reactions of many non-teenagers. They were close to appalled.

Stress

By the simple act of switching phone brand, I was opening myself up to brain-skewering levels of stress: the equivalent of moving house, getting divorced and having major surgery all on the same day. Because – gasp – the buttons might be in different places. The apps might be different or not exist at all. The main concern was that I would waste time with all this fiddlyness; time I could spend playing on my phone.

I must admit I started to worry too. Even after I got it, it took me a while to open the box. Luckily, I can be a contrary article, and it struck me that phone manufacturers want me to have these concerns. Further arming myself with some guff about being open to new experiences, I opened the box and didn’t have a new experience.

One button is in a different place, and I could get the Android versions of all the apps but one. (I’m looking at you, Ulster Bank). After a day or so, I could barely discern any difference between my new and old phone.

But this is largely framed by what I use my phone for, and what I don’t use it for. I don’t want to talk to it, nor do I want it talking to me. There are parts of it that will remain unexplored and unused. Because ultimately, it’s a tool. Like a hammer or a vibrator, we need it to do specific things. But most tools aren’t fetishised in the way phones are. You don’t see carpenters sneering at each other because one of them got a hammer in Tesco.

We get stressed enough by what we read on the phones. We don’t need to get stressed about the phones themselves. The type is irrelevant. But that’s my experience. It may change when I put my new profile picture up on Tinder.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.