A monologue about a relationship turned sour because of a cell phone starts a conversations about technology, social media, and communication. Featuring conversations with a group of high school students from the Academy at Palumbo and tech life expert Stephanie Humphrey.
If you’re reading this, chances are social media was not a huge part of your high school experience.
That may be a gross generalization, but let’s go with it.
Imagine folding a digital reality into the already fraught social dynamics of middle school and high school.
“Do you like me, check ‘yes’ or ‘no’” written on a piece of paper passed across the classroom under the watchful eye of a teacher has nothing on “likes” on Instagram and “streaks” on Snapchat. Yes, streaks.
“It’s basically Snapchatting a person every day,” a student at the Academy of Palumbo told us. “It’s like a little fire thing that pops up and it shows how long you guys have been doing that.”
Her longest streak? 300 days.
Of course not every social media interaction, including streaks, is romantic in nature, but again, let’s go with it. Imagine one day, suddenly, your crush doesn’t Snapchat you. Out of nowhere, your streak is gone, and the relationship is thrown into unfamiliar territory: digital silence.
But is that really all that different from what teenagers having been doing since the beginning of time?
Tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey thinks not: “I think the overarching thing that parents and adults need to understand is that nothing has really changed about the way that kids interact with each other on a fundamental level. They just have better tools than we did back in the day if you will.”
further reading & resources
For tons of resources for parents, guardians, and educators about all things media and technology, check out Common Sense Media.
Watch the trailer for the documentary Screenagers and check out the resources and screening information on their website.
Read this article from NYMag's The Cut about how social media can taint adult friendships.
Consider the sometimes eerie ways social media and technology are beginning to blur the line between reality and fiction in this article from The Atlantic.
Click here to learn more about Philadelphia Young Playwrights.
Read rising high school senior Trinity Williams' take on Episode Eight here.
"Better Technology, Horrible Connection" is performed by Adbul Sesay under the direction of Christina May for the 2017 Young Voices Monologue Festival.
Mouthful will be featured as part of the Fifth Annual Philadelphia Podcast Festival this summer! Mark your calendars for Sunday, July 23rd at 6 pm when we will be having a live show at the Kitchen Table Gallery in Kensington.