Into the mind of a 14 year old … (my daughter Zoe)

Into the mind of a 14 year old … (my daughter Zoe)

The other night I was helping my daughter Zoe with something on her iPhone. I have to be honest when she passed me her phone and I looked at her home screen I was floored. It is a little hard to describe so below is a screen shot of her phone (all of this with her permission btw)

zoeiphone

First thoughts:

  1. Every folder is categorized not by function but by colour
  2. In the dock there is no Phone
  3. In the dock there is no Email
  4. In the dock there is no Messages
  5. She would rather have 3 rows of available icon space blank then use it for something that does not fit her organizational strategy

What matters to Zoe most is YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly. I asked her where her phone app is. “Green” she replied. “Camera?” I asked and without missing a beat she said “Grey”. “Email” … she paused for a sec and then say “Blue”.

I was interested to see if this was common amongst other teenagers (especially teen girls) so I posted on Facebook for people to share their home screens. Now all but 1 who replied were not teenagers. Most people who replied left the icons exactly where Apple put them originally. There were a few people who added small changes to their dock (Adding in a folder for all social media, adding in Spotify or other apps they use often). The majority still still had phone, email and messages in the dock. If you have a tween or a teen and they would be willing to post the front home screen I would love to see it in the comments on this blog or on Facebook.

Some thoughts for us as parents, educators and leaders:

  1. This is a different and unique generation of students. We cannot just assume they will do things like us. Someone commented on my Facebook post that the way she had set up her phone was wrong. This message was deleted by the poster within the hour. Different is not wrong. A student doing things different than how you might do something just makes them someone who is thinking and choosing to do things their own way. I am actually quite proud of how she set up her phone. While at a Leadership Retreat at Muskoka Woods a number of years ago I read a quote on a TV that said:

    “A Leader is someone who looks at the World and says it does not have to be this way … and then does something about it.”

    My daughter decided that her phone did not have to be this way and then did something about it. I hope that this small trait I see in her phone use translates into how she lives her life.  I hope she is willing to risk being different to do her life how she wants to live it and not just follow everything that her culture teaches her to follow. 

  2. I think we as parents and educators need to look at how we are teaching this generation. If this younger generation thinks different than us we must find new ways to engage them that might be different than how we were engaged. This is why in my talk on media I say to parents/educators it is so important to understand this generation and the culture they live in so that we can engage them in a way that they need to be engaged.
  3.  In our church world I think we need to be asking are we engaging these next generations how we wanted to be engaged or how they need to be be engaged? Doing things because “That is the way we always do them” is not a really good solution to properly engaging anyone. If those things we are doing are actually engaging students than keep it up but if they are not we need to look at how WE can change.

Anyway, Love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.
Talk to you soon
Brett

About The Author

Brett Ullman

Brett Ullman travels North America speaking to teens, young adults, leaders and parents on topics including sexuality, mental health, men, dating and media. Brett's seminars engage and challenge attendees to try and connect our ancient faith with our modern culture we live in. Participants are inspired to reflect on what we know, what we believe and how our faith ought to serve as the lens through which we view and engage tough conversations in our society today.

1 Comment

  1. Michelle williams

    This was such an intriguing discovery! I am a junior high teacher and especially appreciated your thoughts, and your daughter’s organizational skills! If she was a student in my class I’d say she is ingenious and give her a high five! She has made me rethink my own home screen 🙂

    Reply

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