She thought about her new phone all day at school, the time she would get to spend on it when she got home, before she went to cheer practice. That the case and the pop socket she’d ordered for it arrived earlier in the day only made the anticipated afternoon reunion sweeter.

Only homework needed done first.

That the afternoon went off the rails so quickly should not have surprised me. What fifth grader possesses the force of will to complete homework and to study for a test while the most enticing consumer technology the world has ever seen waits in the next room? Certainly not mine. Shouts. Tears. Slammed doors. Promises to take the phone away for days.

After dropping her off at cheer practice, alone in the car, it occurred to me that this is what an iPhone is designed to do, to embed itself in a person’s consciousness as an ever-beckoning portal to all manner of happiness. It’s too much for a 10 year-old to handle without assertive parental regulation. And even then . . .


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