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: I DON’T GET THOSE LITTLE SQUIGGLY ICONS ON THE TOP OF THE PHONE SCREEN. I AM TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK WHAT THOSE IMAGES ARE SUPPOSED TO MEAN. Rory, Fontana
Dear Rory: You should not feel shy or embarrassed. What you describe is more common than you think. For example, what is a circle with a half closed arrow? Sometimes you can hover over the image with your finger and a descriptive label will pop up. But, I assume you tried that. So, as a first step, try to describe the mysterious icon in an online search… you’ll be surprised! You could also get an instructional book for your phone or look on YouTube. And, check out classes at the phone stores. Many of these are free.
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.