It’s that time of year again, peasants.
Valentines Day, you think? Um, no. I’ll take a pass on commercialized romance and naked winged babies running around with ammunition. Spring? It’s 35 degrees. My birthday? October (although my brother’s was yesterday, happy birthday you kook!). Naptime? That’s all year round. A Jersey Shore hiatus? Nope, they’re just a month into Season 3. (To my credit, I didn’t know that. I had to google it.)
No, it’s time for that beloved rush of procrastination known commonly as the science fair.
This year, my friend (link) and I did a social experiment.
Basically, the point of the experiment was to test the differences in adult and teen socialization, and their respective reliances on technology (namely, cell phones).
Our hypothesis was that teens would use cell phones more frequently in a social setting than adults. Boy, were we right.
Average times a teen used their cell phone? 14.5
Average times for adults? 2
Let it also be said that the adults only used their phones during a conversation when an alert went off–call, text, or otherwise– and none of them answered their phones or non-urgent texts. Our teenage friends actually pulled up YouTube and spent the better part of their half-hour experimental time watching music videos. Socialization? Yes. Loosely.
Very long story short, we got the information we needed. But there’s always certain… quirks in an experiment. You never know exactly how the subjects will react, especially if they’re humans. Especially if they’re teenagers.
I felt like the perfect hostess when preparing to do our experiment at my house. Brownies and lemon squares in the oven, chips and salsa and sodas set out on the coffee table. I set up an array of throw pillows on the stairs so Red (said friend and partner-in-crime) and I could observe the social interaction. My cell phone was charged so I could text the subjects when the project was over (a bit of irony, since they didn’t know the experiment had to do with cell phones). The house was clean and I was ready to go.
Then people showed up. And the brownies were burnt, lemon squares the consistancy of jelly. Little brother took half the pillows, I lost my phone, the camera was out of batteries, and some of our subjects had forgotten their phones.
But it was okay. Because I was a mature “scientist”/hostess and I could handle it. We salvaged the brownies, brought back as many of the pillows as possible, and we started the experiment. Brownies and chips and salsa and sodas on the table. This is it. We did it.
Of COURSE there’s a “–but” to that. The problem was, it was dinnertime. Our subjects hadn’t eaten yet, so they were very thankful for the food. Perhaps a bit too thankful- because they spent the first ten minutes of the experiment eating chips. They talked a little, and checked their phones ever so often, but the food was a distraction. They weren’t supposed to have anything to do! The whole point of the project was to get them in a situation where there was no activity that would require them to deviate from natural instinct.
So I had the brilliant idea to take away the food. Bad. Idea.
As aforementioned, it was dinnertime. As aforementioned, they were hungry. As aforementioned, they were teenagers.
As NOT yet aforementioned, they staged a riot. Suddenly my “calm hostess” evaporated as I tried to gather all the teenagers back in the room. They tackled Red and pinned me to the ground to take back the food.
When in doubt, tell on them. The parents helped us get the food put away and the subjects back on track.
Voila. Without food, the cell phones were whipped out. YouTube and Facebook checked. Texts sent and our experiment was no longer in jeopardy.
As for the parents, they actually sat and talked about “ways to decrease the use of technology in the home” and “setting a good example for our children against overuse of the internet and other devices”. Yeah. Then they had a pillow fight with the throw pillows, discussed Disneyland, and made plans for an inter-congergation volleyball league.
Their conversation was more interesting than that of our peers. 🙂
After everyone left, I ate the lemon squares straight from the pan.
With a spoon.