An Open Letter to Teenagers – The Laura Lee blog

 know what you’re thinking , as you read the title to this blog. “Whooooaa there, open letters are no longer a thing.” Just because someone on Twitter decided two years ago that they’re no longer a thing, I’m afraid that’s tough. That’s the beauty of having your own blog y’see, you dodge the Cool Police, to an extent anyway. You can use your own blog to post pictures of cats, cupcake recipes, hell you can even make incendiary remarks. Example – “If you put the number of super-injunctions in Northern Ireland end to end, you could circle the North Pole, twice. Fact.”

Teenager looks at phone on train

So yes this is an open letter, and it’s on the subject of technology and teens. Technology is a wonderful thing, there’s no doubt of that. It has come as a blessing for the sex industry for a start, in terms of sharing information on dangerous clients, and networking with other sex workers and activists. Of course there’s also games and films, surely a God send to any despairing parent on a long drive. (How my parents kept up I spy for a four hour drive from Dublin to Cork, I’ll never know.) Back when mobile phones were first launched, the sales tag was “connecting people, not places.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except it you’re the parent of a teenager. So, without further ado ….

My Letter

Dear teenagers,

What I’m about to say is going to shock you now, but there is a life outside two thumbs and a emoji-filled screen. While you’re busy feverishly texting and sending pictures of your lunch with a “FML” attached, something wonderful is happening. We are going into the depths of hell itself, your bedrooms, to liberate the clothes from your floor that scientists specialising in fungi wouldn’t touch. We wash them, dry them and iron them, all while you’re making edits of a Harry Styles picture to include a crown and hearts.

Sometimes, we even work to earn money to pay for your concert tickets, pocket money, prom ticket, and the food you complain about. Here’s the really shocking part, we even pay for that device in your hand, the one you’ve been using to send the latest YouTube hot beauty tips to your friends. And while we’re here, stop adding data and use wifi.

You see, we come from a time when if you wanted to meet your friend, you phoned their landline and met them under Clery’s clock, and you had to be there. A brief word on “read receipts”. Just because we have read your message does not mean that we don’t care that Jordan or Chelsea has TOTALLY copied your style for Instagram. It’s just that we have this annoying habit of prioritising things, so yes, we read your message, but unless one of the hamsters has died or you’ve lost your house keys yet again, it really is okay to wait an hour before responding. No-one dies because our response isn’t instantaneous. Speaking of instantaneous, I’m going to let you into the little secret, guaranteed to drive all parents mad. Wait until your parents are at a wedding, or night out with friends, and guaranteed to be having fun. Commence with the texting, having no regard for the fact that they’re in a noisy environment or simply engaged in conversation.

“MOM.” “MOM PICK UP” “HELLO? THIS IS AN EMERGENCY” “OH NICE, YOU CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO CALL ME BACK.”

The key to this exchange of course, is when your panicked parent dashes outside to return your call, don’t answer it. In spite of the fact your phone is in your mitts 24/7, choose that exact moment to not answer all six calls. When your parent finally gets an answer, haughtily remind them of the emergency which is that you can’t find the discount codes for Dominos Pizza. Then sit back and wonder aloud to your friends why your parents are so short tempered.
You know, it’s a good job we’re biologically programmed to love you.

Kind regards,

A. Parent

Laura Lee

Laura Lee

Irish mother, writer, animal lover, perpetual student and sex workers' rights campaigner.
Laura Lee

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