By Sonya Mitchell
Trevor Abbot â08 didnât wear a watch today. He hasnât worn one for the past two years.
âWhy would I need to wear a watch?â Abbot said. âSince I started carrying my cell phone with me everywhere and since I always have it in hand because Iâm always using it, I just glance at it when I need to tell the time. My cell phone is my watch.â
With the popularity of cell phones reaching the point of addiction according to some researchers, teenagers find wrist watches to be obsolete.
âI was always into wearing a watch, but when it broke I wasnât inclined to replace it because I got used to checking my phone for the time,â David Jonas â08 said.
A study by the Los Angeles Times said that since 2004, the number of people who have purchased a watch, other then a high-end Rolex or Patek Philippe model, has dropped 12 percent. And, the more teen-oriented brand Fossil has experienced an 18.6 percent drop in its U.S. sales.
âI had a kid come in today, and he didnât want to buy a watch because he said he uses his cell phone to tell the time,â said Edwin Azizian, a salesman at Mall Time, a Topanga Mall watch store.
For teens, the trend of wearing a watch has simply lost its allure. It has become outmoded, and taking its place is the multi-tasking electronic gadget: the cell phone.
Wrist watches first appeared out of necessity as armies in World War I used them to coordinate attacks.
But similar to a fancy watch, phones have also become a fashionable item and often express their ownerâs personality.
âPeople, especially teenagers, personalize their phones,â the Verizon salesman said. âSomeone will buy a normal phone model and individualize it with crystals, art design and sequins.â
While meandering through Rome, Jenna Marine â08 threw her penny into the Trevi Fountain, walked on the historical stones that lay beneath the Coliseum and craned her neck to appreciate Michelangeloâs masterpiece of the Sistine Chapel.
But even while touring the ancient city, Marine felt like something was missing. She reached into her pocket and felt the noticeable void of her usual sleek silver and black Motorola phone.
âMy cell phone connects me to my friends and social life,â Marine said. âI mean obviously itâs not a drug, but in a way I guess itâs an addiction, and I went through a sort of withdrawal. I truly felt I was missing something.â
For some, the cell phone has grown so far beyond its initial use as a means of communication that students find it nearly impossible to part from the device.
âI feel like the world could end, and I wouldnât know about it because I donât have my phone,â Natalie Williams â08 said.
In some cases, teenagers opt to use their cell phones even when they have access to a land line at home.
âEven when Iâm home, people just call me on my cell phone,â Amanda Epstein â07 said. âI tell people to just always call my cell.â
âThe attachment to oneâs phone comes from the social relationships that you can contact through the phone, and it lets people keep in touch with their closest friends and family all the time,â Dr. Mizuko Ito, a research scientist at the Annenberg Center for Communication at USC, said. âPeople end up prioritizing these people over the people that are around them, when people should be paying attention to whatâs happening in front of them.â
But like an addiction thatâs hard to get rid of, once students have acclimated to life without a cell phone, they often find it refreshing to be rid of the pesky buzzing machine.
âIt was so nice being in Spain this summer for a month without my phone,â Vanessa Zackler â08 said. âIt was nice actually being away from it all.â