Hello, my name is Alec Parlapiano and I am a Life Scout of Boy Scout Troop 422 of Dunedin, Florida. I am writing to you today to express my opinion on something about my fellow teenagers that bothers me.

In the 21st century, cellphones have become a part of life. They are very convenient as they allow us to directly communicate with someone and get a very quick response. Back in the day, people would have to rely solely on house phones and pay phones. Anyone who grew up during this era thinks of cellphones as if they are a futuristic invention. However, I believe that modern cellphones have caused many problems within my generation.

First of all, cellphones are a major distraction in school. Every day, I see kids looking down at their phones while the teacher is giving a lecture. I believe that this may hurt their performance, on top of the fact that it is just downright disrespectful. cellphones have been a problem in our schools ever since they became popular. They are a never-ending battle for teachers. I understand if you are done with your assignments or if you have nothing better to do, but just put it down when the teacher is trying to talk. Show them some respect. This just bothers me.

Secondly, I believe that cellphones are affecting social interactions. From time to time when I am hanging out with my friends, they will be looking down at their phones while we are all hanging out. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. When I hang out with friends, I am almost never on my phone. If you want to sit there and surf social media, please feel free to stay home and do that. Sometimes, everyone will just sit there silent staring at their cellphones. This makes me just want to leave. I don’t see any point in hanging out if that is all we are going to do. Back in the day before cellphones, you were forced to interact with people. I believe this formed better relationships between people. This also bettered their social skills. It just seems like kids nowadays don’t have the social skills that teenagers of the ’90s and earlier used to have.

Lastly, social media. Social media can be a good way of keeping in touch with distant relatives or friends. It is also a way to see what your local friends are up to. However, I do see a few problems with it which I would like to address. First of all, it annoys me when people feel the need to post about every aspect of their daily life, such as what they are having for dinner or what they are doing with their friends. To me it almost looks like they are insecure and that they see the need to prove that they have friends. I also believe that social media results in various information being spread around quickly, which can be good or bad. Someone could spread a rumor about another person and the whole school could know about it by lunch time. This could ruin their life in a matter of hours. It can also be used to post the answers to a test, which is not good. Social media can also be used for good, like moral support or for getting people together. It just has a great potential for abuse or overuse.

In the end, cellphones are not all that bad. They do allow us to communicate quickly and efficiently, and allow more to get done on shorter notice. Social media also allows us to stay connected with our peers even when we are not with them. cellphones can be very useful to us as long as they do not affect our social lives and are not abused. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I just wanted to express my opinion on something that bothers me.

Alec Parlapiano, Palm Harbor

Editor’s Note: Alec wrote this opinion piece for publication in a newspaper to fulfill a requirement for the communications merit badge.