Only a person who uses it for personal purposes truly understands the personal nature of the personal mobile phone.
I hope the message has been properly rubbed in. The truth is that many of us do not appreciate that another’s handset is not for us to explore.
A couple of months ago, a boy who sat next to me at a wedding, a total stranger, held out his hand for my handset: “Can I see it?”. Too surprised to say a word, I handed it to him. He turned it this way and that, quickly figured out how to unlock it, and started hunting for games. Gosh. It was awkward, to say the least. The moment you unlock my phone you are hit with a number of reminders and notifications and such luxuries that I need to survive. I would not want my vulnerabilities so displayed in the open. No one would. Not to speak of the state secrets I carry within the gadget. He was clearly used to playing games in great many types of devices and knew exactly how to locate them. Luckily for me, his grandmother noticed him fiddling with it and told him to return it.
I remember being curious about handsets when they first hit the market. At the time, people used them only for making / receiving calls (true to the name ‘phones’). It was okay to be curious about a new handset and probably look at one. As soon as SMS-ing became a craze, looking at others’ new handsets meant running into messages you should not be seeing.
Little boys these days have learnt to play games in their parents’ high-end devices, and have discovered that every new handset contains a better and more thrilling game than in the previous model. They know more about mobiles (as they used to, once upon a time, about cars) than their parents do (they sure know how to embarrass us in public with those model numbers and mobile jargon) and believe it their right to borrow from adults and play, showing off their game-finding skills to their peers.
I do not know how long I can hold on to this belief that little five-year-olds should not borrow their parents’ phones or anyone else’ phones to play, even when they become six-year-olds or ten-year-olds.
For the time being, I declare that mobile handsets are the owners’ personal property and it is as unique as the person’s Unique Identity, and borrowing it even ‘just to see it’ is not recommended.
Of course, all this opinion may change in a few months…weeks…days? I have seen my son eye my phone when I leave it unattended on the table…