DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: MY FRIENDS AND I LIKE TO SHARE OUR PLAYLISTS. WE USUALLY DO THIS ON THE BUS TO AND FROM SCHOOL. SOMETIMES MY FRIENDS ASK ME TO SHARE THEIR EARBUDS BUT I AM RELUCTANT TO DO THIS. IT GROSSES ME OUT. AM I WRONG? Helen, Goleta
Dear Helen: It sounds like you are on the right track (no pun intended). Although sharing ear buds seems as innocent as say, sharing a milkshake with a straw, the experts say otherwise. Apparently, we all have unique ear-bacteria, and when you share buds you are doubling the microbial flora in your ears. This can lead to infections and worse. Tell your friends you are getting over an earache, and you don’t think it’s safe for them.
DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: MY BOYFRIEND AND I ARE BOTH IN TENTH GRADE. HE HAS A SECRET PHONE SEWN INTO HIS BACKPACK AND DURING CLASS HE WILL OPEN UP A FLAP AND BROWSE IT. IF THE TEACHER COMES BY HE CLOSES THE FLAP UP. SHOULD I REPORT HIM TO THE TEACHER? From Gabby, Stockton.
Dear Gabby: It is going to be difficult to confront your boyfriend, but if you care about your relationship you need to do this. You don’t want to have a friend you cannot trust. Tell him that you do not respect the fact that he is hiding the phone from the teachers. He may be hiding other things too.
DEAR MS.SMARTPHONE: I AM 15 YEARS OLD. I AM A GOOD STUDENT AND ONLY USE MY PHONE WHEN I FINISH MY HOMEWORK. MY BOYFRIEND AND I HAD A STREAK THAT LASTED FOR 69 DAYS. BUT THEN HE STOPPED AND DID NOT TELL ME. I AM SICK OVER THIS AND WHEN I SEE HIM AT SCHOOL HE JUST LOOKS AWAY. Jesse, San Jose.
Dear Jesse: It’s great that you know when and how to use your phone responsibly. Lots of kids your age enjoy streaks, but they are so new that there are not rules for users. Companies like Snapchat use social methods to keep your post going. Most likely, this boy broke up with you in a cowardly way. You will never know for sure though unless you ask him what’s going on. That said, he sounds like the kind of person you do not want to call a friend. Consider moving on.