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At FCC’s “Generation Mobile” Event, the Kids Speak Plainly & Pointedly

FCC Gen MobileAt today’s FCC “Generation Mobile” forum — chock-full of online safety experts, company reps, Jane Lynch of the TV show Glee, and even Chairman Genachowski himself — it was the kids that made the show about mobile technology worthwhile. On a panel about generation mobile, here are a few of the statements we heard from high school kids:


    1. “Don’t just take the phone away.”
    2. “When parents snoop too much, it’s a privacy invasion.”
    3. “We’ll listen more if you present us with concrete evidence for behavioral restrictions.”


These are the kinds of arguments tech policy advocates make, only we would have said them in our unique brand of policy speak:


    1. Don’t regulate the technology, regulate bad behavior.
    2. Privacy is important and governments/companies must respect the privacy interests of their citizens/customers.
    3. Policymakers should collect sufficient data and analysis before introducing new legislation.


Policy geek-speak aside, here are some interesting facts we heard about teen use of mobile technology:

  • According to Genachowski, 80% of fatal teen driving accidents are caused by distracted driving
  • According to Amanda Lenhart of Pew, 15% of kids have received a sext message; only 4% have sent a sext
  • Also from Amanda, 62% of schools allow cell phones in the school, but not in the classroom. 12% permissively allow anywhere.


We know that mobile technologies will be a large part of everybody’s future, young or old. Let’s make sure to have more plain-spoken dialogues—or text messaging chats (lol)—with the younger generation about their ideas and expectations. We just may learn something.

– Braden Cox & Steve DelBianco